Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Time, hmmm, where does it go? by Lew

So, most everyone in the blogosphere would agree that kids make time go by faster. That's a given. So what does 4 at once do to time? Does it go by 4 times as fast? And how does that make a single day feel with respect to time? Beer anyone?

Yeah, time is of the essence lately.

But, I'm hear to let The Quad Fan Base know the following:

1) Dane took it back...Cam had it for one day.
2) Summer is very cute...but I think Dane might be cuter.
3) Cameron has a normal brain. That's huge - huger than huge. Down to one cyst that's basically nothing and the last brain scan measurements of his ventricle are normal! If you can picture me, picture me doing a Tiger Woods fist pump baby!
4) 3 Quads have breeched the 4 pound barrier!
5) Cameron is off the O2 - uhha, uhhhhha! Summer is trying hard, but it will take a bit longer. Brock likes it too much. In fact, he talks like he just huffed helium - so I don't blame him for wanting to stay on the sauce a bit longer.

The most important thing about the above summary is the fact that Tonya Lewandowski gave birth to quadruplets, all of which appear to be completely least to this point. Normal as in we were so freaked out about all the numbers, percentages, likelihoods, etc. and here we are - blessed as blessed can be blessed!

Oh yeah, by the way - ONE MONTH OLD TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All I know is that there are a lot of people that we need to thank. Four normal babies! Freekin' unbelievable! And they are all so cute...just like their mother....No doubt all the people in our corner helped immensely. You people are very good people. People that should be recognized for doing good. You people are a dime a dozen in modern society. Real good people that our family loves.

So when I'm on the road and I see a vehicle with 2 adult bikes and 1 bike with training wheels, I can't help but think how cool our van with flames on the hood will look when we have our bikes, aiden and cale's bikes, and 4 bikes with training wheels!

Speaking of training wheels, Aiden need no stinkin' training wheels! He dominates. He should, he's over 4 years old but considering the circumstances, and where our house is, he's on par. I think he's got it. It as in not everyone has it. Like he should be good at stuff because he has it. I hope I'm right. Aiden is cool like a cat and seems to have some good skills. Dad has high expectations for Aiden.

We attempted to get Aiden and Cale on our schedule at the hospital but it's just too much to ask of them. We'll probably go for an every 3 days or so deal with them and visiting. It's tough, they want to go. But cripe, just a lot to ask of them when were there.

I'm pooped,
Peace Out -

Monday, August 25, 2008

We Have a New Champ! by Lew

I don't know if it was the day to day pressure or what, but Dane-O just could not maintain his elite status...Cameron took the Heavyweight Title away from Dane-O last night! I think the numbers were Cameron in at 1881 grams and Dane-O in at 1872 grams, or there abouts, I know for fact that it was by a 9 pound margin! It's like 4 pounds, 2 ounces and some change!

That's fun stuff! Brock should bash the 4 pound barrier soon as well! Summer, she's just cute!

All of The Quads are doing great. We are hoping Summer, Brock, and Cameron will be off their nasal oxygen prong things soon. Seems like they are all past due to have that stuff done and gone. We should find out more on that at our meeting on Thursday.

Tonya has been able to nurse each of the quads. Depending on what we have going with visitors, sometimes she can get each of them one feeding in a day. They don't really get all that much from the nursing, but they are learning and seem to be getting better with their suck-swallow mechanics and make progress with each attempt. All The Quads seem to love getting bathed - that's good, we like clean kids...I got to give my first baths on Sunday to Brock and Cameron - they did awesome and it was fun! It's really neat bringing Aiden and Cale in to see the babies. They just love going to see them and they are so darn nice to all of them. They both want to see them all and touch them and talk to them! When we leave, they go around to each baby and tell them they love them and tell them goodbye and tell them they'll see them tomorrow, etc. It really makes Tonya and me proud when Aiden and Cale show their true colors, real proud. All you parents out there now that feeling we are talking about. When they just blow your socks off!

This golf outing deal - unbelievable all you people out there. We really are looking forward to seeing family and friends in a couple weeks! The Quads are doing their best to pack the weight on so they can be a part of the outing as well!

Should be something coming up in The Antrim Review...

Gosh, there are so many thank you's that we need to get out there I can't keep them all straight. In fact, I can't remember all the people that have sent us baby clothes in the past couple weeks. Again I have to give a shout to the Jen K Manor Donators - some good veggies people - thank you again! That really was an awesome donation - you all should feel good about yourselves. I'll try my best with thank you's - Kay (Moeke's Mom) and John, Glenn and Tracy, Tracy's Mom, Kosakowski's, Diegel's, Jess and Hans..if I forgot you, I drink too much...

Super special thanks to Tonya's family and my family.

Also special thanks to Craven. He took me out for my first salmon fishing trip of the season...and probably my last for the next 5 years! We caught one that was longer than Cale is tall - I'll get the photo up here soon...

Gitcha game on - Go Blue!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quadtastic by Lew

Thanks to Webmasta Nate for getting the website back in order!

So yeah that was some other dude with a hairy chest holding our babies, wasnt't me...

Vanessa left out the funny part of that story. Actually, Dane is on the right and Cameron is on the left in the photo with the hairy-chested dude. So, the funniest part of that photo is kind of telling. When you look closely at Dane, you can see he kind of has a little smirk. He's smirking because we were all laughing at him. He just got done singing this:

I'm to sexy for my shirt, to sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts! He was singing it to me and I think it was because the hair scratching his face kind of hurt? After that, he asked why he got sent to the zoo to be held by a chimp?

By any means, for those that aren't quite in-the-know, kangaroo care is a term that my wife and the nurses use. I want a kangaroo. I like kangaroos. I like how they hop. I like they're tails. I like how they are good boxers? But mostly, I like that they care for their new borns so well that humans, humans, have named the care that is of utmost importance to new borns after the kangaroo. Skin to win baby!

Quads were given a best estimate of being released from the hospital on September 11 - or 3 weeks from today. They were all pretty damn excited to be able to golf in the outing - they were arguing over who golfs with who and who gets to drive the cart and what not.

So, if indeed they do get released before September 13, those that will be in attendance at the golf outing may just get a chance to meet The Quads....again though, things could change.

Had our week 3 meeting today with Munson staff. Dr. St. Charles really made me smile when he said they are all doing so well! Dane is great. Summer is good. Cameron is good and issues associated with his brain don't appear to be much of an issue anymore. He gets an ultrasound of his noggin on Monday which will hopefully depict continued progress towards normal measurements. Brock is up and down on his oxygen and apnia. Him and Dane were off the caffeine and then Brock got a hefty dose tonight after he made the nurse sprint over to remind him to breath and make his heart beat. Just another night in the NICU! Summer is really trying her best to fit in with the boys - she has thunderous releases of gas! Dane will probably be at 4 pounds tomorrow or for sure Saturday! 4 pounds never looked so big, or so little! Everyone else is playing catchup with Dane-O!

Funny - the Bellaire paper, The Antrim Review, called today. They said they need some photos for a story. Also mentioned that the ones in the Record Eagle are "to graphic for us" - Funny!

So, our routine for the next few weeks will probably include spending Monday through Thursday afternoon at The Manor and then head over to the cottage for the remainder of the week until The Quads are released. Seems to work out better for our family that way.

Tonya is doing great and will be trying to get a posting up soon. She's awesome with this milk stuff! I mean, she's like a factory man! Also, please refrain from asking her when the baby is due - pisses me off more than her. Yeah, believe it, people ask her that! I think the next time someone asks her that I'm gonna go thunderous like Summer on their hand! You just don't ask if you're not sure and if you do ask and you get the response that Tonya gives, go the extra mile of being kind enough to say how great she looks and what not. Shit is still out of whack inside her and she has a cute little paunch. Might take a bit for her body to get back to normal. Regardless, she is doing great!

We are starting a search for a new vehicle. If anyone has any contacts for a pimped out bus, preferrably with flames on the hood, please let me know!

Alright, enough's enough, I gotta go to bed.

Thank you all for doing what you all do.

Special thanks to our down state friends of my side. There was a delivery made to The Manor today. Jen Kosakowski instigated a collection and she delivered on it big time! Thank you all for looking out for those that are not as fortunate as our families and for looking out for those that are going through tough times. I was talking with Brian, the manager of The Manor, yesterday and I called it home. That was how it came out. It was weird, but I said it. He said some nice things about our family. The coolest was when he said he would like to clone us for when we leave! Funny, but it meant a lot! There is no doubt in my mind that Brian and the rest of his staff are so extremely greatful for the kindness that was brought to The Manor today by the donations!

Thank you,
Right Said Lew

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We're Lew

So, as you all are aware, we haven't been too bloggy lately. Sorry, life has been pretty much a whirlwind for the past week or so.

The Quads are growing! When I walked into the NICU last night Dane was walking around drinking coffee, he said if he's going to get caffeine, he wants to drink it, not have it shot through his nose! Cameron was carrying Brocks legs while he was doing his best impression of a preemie wheelbarrow! Summer was jumping from isolette isolette practicing gymnastics - she said the olympics have given her motivation! It was just nuts and the nurses were all sitting around laughing!

For real though, The Quads got moved to another quadrant in the NICU. It is much more intimate, they are closer together, and it is out of the higher traffic areas so it is quieter. We are very pleased for the move.

Dane and Cameron are locked in a serious battle for the heavyweight title. Dane still holds a slight edge and they are both weighing over 3.5 pounds! Brock is making his case to get involved in the competition as well and little Summer is nearing the 3 pound mark.

Summer, Brock, and Cameron are on-again off-again with their nasal canyall things. Oxygen that is added is minimal, but they just can't quite do it completely on their own yet. They try, but just get to darn tired.

They all seem to poop a lot. The nurses say that is good. But I'll tell you, imagine sleeping in a clear box with walls like a foot away from your body with minimal ventilation after a night of consuming a couple few PBRs- yeah! You get a wiff of stink when you open their isolettes and then it's apparent why they can't keep their oxygen levels up or breath easy on their own!

So, all in all, The Quads are doing just as good as they were since the last post. Cameron's issues with his brain remain under close watch. We really won't know much about anything with regard to that until additional ultra sounds or an MRI is completed. I don't recall when the next round of either of those will occur.

Our absence from the blogosphere is a culmination of being on our own with Aiden and Cale and having a family event this past weekend. Life has been pretty hectic, and we can only imagine that this state of hecticness is just the tip of the iceberg....

There was a commercial promoting the golf outing on WTCM, a Traverse City country music coworker informed me of that this morning. Crazy people you!

There should be an article in The Record Eagle this Thursday summarizing our escapades!

To summarize how Tonya and I are doing - we are starting to feel a bit overwhelmed...again. The reality of The Quads coming home soon has created a sense of urgency, especially with me. Tonya will be following up on some "calls for help" that she initiated.

This is what I have to offer:

If there are any kind ladies or gents out there in the Traverse City Area that would love to spend time with two extremely well behaved boys (2 and 4 years old), a wonderful, chatty mom, and four beautiful babies that never cry, and me, you can contact me. Feel free to spread the word if you know someone that would be interested. I think if you write a response to the blog I can email you back from our blog email, provided you have a yahoo or blog email?

Fun stuff we will be looking into in the very near future is a new vehicle. So anyone out there that knows of a vehicle that could accomodate our family, let me know...

Also, the plans for us at the cottage are somewhat up in the air. We were there this past weekend and the boys love it. I kind of jumped the gun on when we might get over there. We will probably continue at The Manor until all the quads are released. The ease of walking to the hospital out weighs the luxury of the cottage. Again, Julie and family and Chuck and Suzy, you are the best!

Our family is looking forward to seeing ya'll soon. There is a chance that we may have a little one or more tagging along with us at the golf outing....

As always, thank you all for your support!

The Lewandowski Family

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Brothers Meet The Quads!

So, as everyone out there with kids knows, there are times when they listen and behave as you would expect, sometimes even exceeding expectations...and there are times when you wish you could string them up by their toes...

...And then there are times like we experienced tonight.

As a parent, you could not ask for anything more from a 2 and 4 year old. Tonya and I were so damn proud of Aiden and Caleb tonight!

Aiden and Cale met Summer, Brock, Cameron, and Dane tonight. Seriously, they were awesome! They brought some new blankets with them for gifts. They said hi, they waved, they said I love you, they inquired about the babies coming home so they could play with them, they asked when they would be able to hold the babies, they asked about their huts, their monitor screens and what everything on them meant, their sensors. They event got to see Summer get her diaper changed. They saw all that and then some and asked about all that and then some. It was great.

They did so well that when we got back to The Manor, we sat in the rocking chairs on the porch and had ice cream cones with the ice cream the Moeke Family brought for Tonya all the way from Cinncinnatti! George and Rebecca, we voted the Raspberry Chocolate Chip tops!

Man what a night! Just love them boys!

So, Quad Update:

Summer remains tapped with an IV for her antibiotics. She had a positive test for a different staff infection a few days back so she has to have the IV thing in for another few days. She is breathing on her own. Brock is doing great. Cam is doing great. Though Cam did have to get the nasal cannyal thing in last night but it was out today. That is common for preemies like ours - sometimes they just need a little assistance. Dane is great. They are all feeding great.

Tonya has started the nursing process. Summer has yet to get a chance as she can't be taken out of her hut yet. Cameron and Dane seemed down with the deal and Brock seemed to just be happy to be out of his hut. By any means, Tonya was very happy to get that ship out of the harbor and it seems as though nursing will be just fine for the babies.

The Heavyweight Title: Dane currently has a 35 gram lead over Cameron. Dane coming in at 1430 grams (3# 2 oz) and Cam coming in at 1395 grams which I think is 3# 1 oz.

Shit, it's all good man! That could change, but these rugrats are pretty tough and we are keeping on them to stay strong.

Tonya is in the process of getting a post together with photos. As you all are aware, she just can't post photos with a simple caption or post a blog that is anything short of a novel. So, by the time she gets that post blog-worthy, the kids will probably be home. I don't do photos - just not part of this cowboys routine.

We have tons of photos, I mean tons. Maybe I should start posting photos?

Interview with The Record Eagle went down yesterday. It went very well. Vanessa was very nice. I hope she puts a nice article together. It will be in the August 21 edition of The Record Eagle in the Well Being section. Thank you George and Kay for getting a nice story for the news...

We have so many thank you's, and we are sorry if we have missed out giving special notice to anyone. Karl and Jen, thanks for the cute clothes - the preemie clothes from Carter's you sent are for sure the smallest we have seen and should result in a good fit. Kris and Jeff and Kris's mom, thank you for the cute hats - loved the "little" and "little bigger" sizing system!

Again, I have to thank the Konieczny family - just good people!

I don't know about anyone else out there in the blogosphere, but I am really anxious for college football season to start - just can't wait to see the "new" Michigan Wolverine squad this year...

Finally, I would like to remind everyone to be thankful for everyday and to live each day like it is your last. Always kiss your wife and kids goodnight. This place, I swear, it really has made me more appreciative of damn near everything. I have a story to share with you all. It is sad. Our neighbors at The Manor left the other day. They were here before we were. They are grandparents. We hit it off as their daughter had triplets. The Mrs.'s chatted with Tonya and me extensively on what to expect at the NICU and when we get to bring The Quads home. She was a great resource, one of the best we have come across. She helped her daughter raise the triplets and I believe they are around a year old. She got to see them the other weekend and was just tickled by their visit. I'm not sure how long they had been at The Manor before we got here. They were at The Manor to spend time with their son who was in hospice. Their son was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 15. He died the other day at the age of 31. She said he defied all odds by living longer than the year or so the doctors gave him at the young age of 15. That's cruel. That's life. That makes me cry and makes me want to go hug my wife and kids.

Be Thankful,

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whirlwind by Lew

It is becoming readily apparent that 24 hours is not enough time in a day for The Lewandowski Family!

I think we might need to hire an agent. I have designated Aiden as the voice of the family. Aiden is The Agent. Please direct all public relations requests to Aiden. He has a cell phone, but it is not activated - he's old school, said he only carries it for show. Aiden is interested in sports, he especially likes to play rough and tackle other people or kids, he will mix it up with toddlers or adults alike - he said he fears no one, he has a strong affection for construction trucks and equipment, he speaks very well for a four year old, he can count to 20, and he can hit the snot out of a baseball and he said he doesn't need no stinkin' tee! He doesn't have a PDA, said he keeps it all in his head.

There is some breaking news on the front for The Lewandowski Family - but I have to be short here - again, not enough time in a day. Hopefully we can find some time to sit down and post photos and fill everyone in detail on the progression of things.

We will be moving from The Manor to a cottage on East Bay. The Konieczny Family - we just don't know what to say. Thank you Suzie, Chuck, Julie and the rest! Speechless.

The people at The Manor haven't been made aware of this yet, and we will probably shed a tear when we leave. The people that work and volunteer at The Manor are special, very special people and they will always be remembered by Tonya, Aiden, Caleb, and me.

The Post Family, The Wickstrom Family, The Moeke Family and The Schumaker's, and The Endres Family - Thank you. You made a difference in our life this past week.

Update on The Quads: They are awesome!

So we think Dane-O is destined to be a class clown type of kid. Perma grin with a huge smile that is all gums!

Dane-O and Brock are off their nasal canyal things and Summer and Cam should be off within a day. Dane has actually been off his for a few days now and Brock got off his this morning.

I think they are all on full feeds with the possible exception of Summer. Full feeds meaning they all get like 26 mL's of breast milk, dispersed directly to their bellies over the course of about a half an hour, 8 times per day. Yeah, that's like 2 big gulps of milk for us!

If Summer's last blood draw was negative from the organisms that were creeping around in her blood, they will take her IV thing off, that as of last night, was stuck in her head! Poor thing. It should be off today.

Now that The Quads are out of the critical stage, we can hold them more. So I take my shirt off and do a quick "Truffle Shuffle" and we fall asleep with babies laying on us. It's awesome. They just lay there and love life and we lay there and love them.

Anyhow, a little birdy told me you might want to get a copy of the August 21st edition of The Record Eagle...might be something in the Well Being section about some crazy family that recently gave birth to quads...

Little Birdy Lew

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Reaquainted by Lew

The Place: NICU - Munson Hospital

The Time: ~11:30 pm and ~midnight

The Scene: Not a person in the NICU except for nursing staff and The Quad Mom and Dad, of course a bunch of babies as well. Why was it good that no one else was there? Quad Dad had his shirt off! No, he was not showing his boys how to flex! He was preparing for....


Cameron and Dane were reaquainted on Dad's chest last night. Summer and Brock were reaquainted on Mom's chest last night. It was the perfect night. It was just perfect, absolutely no other way to describe it. And it turns out the nurses that coordinated it probably got reprimanded today. But they know. They saw the babies. What the nurses saw was something you can't describe. The doctor may not know, but they know what that meant to not only us, but to our babies. The first real touch from mom an dad. Each one was so content to be with their brother or sister and their mom or their dad. You could feel it. That is so important. That was so important. Barely an alarm went off. Which was better than how they were doing in their huts prior.

Thank you nurses, that was a moment!

Well, no real news to report other than how awesome the quads are doing. The Quads are just plugging along. Honestly, things could not be any better. Really, they are just so perfect.

Thanks ya'll,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bring on the World by Lew

Bring on the world! That is what The Quads yelled this morning once Cam got his Cpap off.

Bring it on!

I just walked out of Munson - with a smile on my face that went from ear to ear, and I gave a little fist pump. Just a little one, I'm a bit reserved...but I wanted to throw both hands up in the air, fists clenched, and just scream.

Our quads, 1 week old today (for those of you that just tuned in), are doing awesome!

The Quads reached the first peak. They had a few stumbles and setbacks along the way, but they persevered, and together they fed off each others will to conquer and got to the top of that first peak - together. Now they have a steady ascent on their way to the Summit, and they have each other for support. Now doubt there will be a few stumbles or setbacks along this stretch. But that Summit is looks like pie from here....the Summit being their release from the hospital.

What a sight it was to be able to go from hut to hut and look at each of their beautiful faces.

Here is a summary of our meeting. The meeting basically consisted of a sit down session with The Quads Doc (Dr. St. Charles), his resident (not sure of his name), Steve who is an awesome dude that has been keeping a watchful eye over The Quads, the lactation lady who Tonya shot some milk at (yeah, we definitely don't need any recommendations from her...Mrs. Moomer has a huge bank going), and two other ladies that I'm not sure what they do but they are nice. All the news was good to great:

All of The Quads are increasing on their feedings. Brock is the only one that is at his maximum which is why his IV is out. Brocks lungs are coming along, still a bit to go. His lungs were the most premature of The Quads. Everyone but Summer is on the nasal prong thing and are getting anywhere from 40 to 50 percent oxygen which amounts to breathing air with oxygen content on the order of 26 percent or so. If that doesn't make sense, sorry, all these acronyms, meds, supplements and what not are tough to keep track of for an amateur. Summer is completely breathing on her own! Summer has probably about a week to just under a week left on the IV and antibiotics from her infection (some sort of Staff Homono ordeal, again pardon the incompetence there). Dane is a pig of an eater but he has to stay on the IV for a couple days or so. He had some goofy platelet numbers and is on some anitbiotics like Summer. Also, the hole in Danes lung may or may not have been a hole and it may or may not have been some minor pneumonia. Regardless, he beat that issue down. Overall, Dane is probably doing the best of The Quads, which is unique in that he was Baby D or Baby 4, and typically the further down the line you go the more susceptible to issues the baby is.

It appears that Cam fixed his leaky valve and his slightly enlarged ventricles did not increase from the previous scan. The cyst is nothing to worry about. That is a quote. The enlarged ventricles are not a sign of hydrocephalus. We are very familiar with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus originates from bleeding/clotting in the brain which results in a lack of fluid circulation and ultimately leads to severe conditions/abnormalities. There is no evidence of current or previous bleeding/clotting in Cams brain. That is very good news. The ventricles may not be circulating fluid as they should, most likely attributed to some degree of prematurity, and the doctors expect over the course of the next week or so that we should see the size of the ventricles approach normal. Should is the key word. Cam is not in the clear, but he, like his brothers and sister, is a fighter.

I had my first sit down talk with Cameron last night. I told Cameron I was there with him and that I will be there with him every step of the way. I gave Cameron a pep talk. I told Cameron to dig deep, to keep fighting, and to keep his chin up. Cameron responded by squeezing my finger. Cameron fixed his leaky valve. Cameron will get those ventricles in order.

This first week grueling, but The Quads did it and Tonya and I hung in there. You just can't imagine the relief we felt after that meeting today.

We received a very nice card(s) today from some friends. It brought some emotions out. There were some very sincere statements in the card. The card was dated August 4th. The card finished with a statement that said I hope or I am sure that Cameron and Dane will be better by the time you get this card. Cameron and Dane are better since August 4th. All of The Quads are better since August 4th.

We can't thank everyone enough for everything. We are so thankful for so many things since we informed all of our family and friends of the pregnancy. This event has changed Tonya and me in so many ways. We are so thankful that we were chosen to command such a life changing event. We knew that we could handle this, from the moment we first found out. A doubt or two lingered, but only for a moment. We love our children. I have said this before, this pregnancy has opened our eyes, especially mine, to so many different things. I truly have a new appreciation for life. We are honored to have been able to welcome so many different people to our situation. We know that we have had a positive influence on people that may not have had an appreciation for life like they should have. All of this, this pregnancy, the warmth and kindness of family, friends, and strangers, it just makes you appreciate what you have, and makes you appreciate what others don't have. Love is a powerful thing. We love to love and so should everyone else.

I need a beer.

Party on,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy by Lew

It makes it soooo much easier to leave the babies when they are all doing so well and are so content!

Summer has rebounded! Thank you Munson nurses for your loving touch. Seeing the nurses treat Summer as they did was amazing. Nurses were calling in when they were off to see how she was doing, just amazing! Treating her as if she was their own. Thank you, we can't ask for any more than that. It means more than you can imagine.

Summer, Brock, and Dane are off the Cpaps - Cameron is still huffing on his.

Brock has his Cpap off and also has his IV out. No, he didn't rip them out, he just doesn't need that crap anymore! It is so nice to see his beautiful face! But boy, when he gets pissed, look out!

Cameron, our little Cameron. Taking his sweet old time with this breathing thing. I think Cameron might be our lazy one? Just really seems to like to have that extra bit of oxygen. Maybe his is like candy flavored or something. The Cpap could come off tomorrow, possibly a day longer. Cam and Summer had their noggins scanned today. We have yet to find out why Summer got scanned. The size of Cams ventricle has remained constant. That is good. Haven't heard any word on the cyst.

Dane-O. Though he is the little brother, he seems to be the watch dawg of the litter. Tonight he was sleeping pretty close to the side of his hut, as though he was trying to keep an eye on his siblings. He did have his eyes open for a bit tonight. Dane is cool. I think he'll be the lady killer of the group.

So, Tonya and I have our first staff meeting tomorrow. We are excited. Mostly because the kids are doing so well, which suggests the meeting should have mostly positive topics. But also because we will be able to sit down and talk with the doctors and whoever else in an environment outside of the NICU.

Again, we aren't getting too up - we are sort of riding a good wave right now, if you will. We are well aware that something could take a turn for the worse, but damn, they all look great right now!

We should be able to provide a pretty informative blog update tomorrow, time permitted.

Alright, bedtime, goodnight.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Power of a Parent's Loving Touch

I want to share my story with all of you... a story about a mother and father's love for their children... and their persistence in sharing that love the only way they knows how with their newborn babies... little babies that are growing and healing inside isolette's in the NICU...

In the months and weeks leading up to the birth of our quadruplets, I had read numerous books, researched online, and corresponded with doctor's as well as other quad moms in regards many of the challenges we may face with our babies in the NICU.

The births of our other children were all quite a bit different than that we knew we were going to be faced with. Yes, our beautiful daughter Meadow spent all 5 of her days with us in the NICU down at Spectrum in Grand Rapids... but we were a special story and were therefore allowed special priveledges with our daughter during that time. The first night we were able to see Meadow, they allowed us to leave a small CD player with her & Aiden's Enya CD so she would not feel alone at night and the other times we were not able to be with her. And when we came back in the middle of the night, the wonderful NICU nurses had labeled her CD player "Meadow's Music" and were leaning over her playing it to softly as we walked in.... The second morning after Aiden & Meadow's birth, we were allowed to paint our little girl's toenails - I wanted her to feel 'Pretty in Pink' - because she was. After only 2-1/2 days Aiden was allowed to lay with his sister in her bed so they could once again feel each other's closeness... as they had done for nearly 36 weeks inside me. And after 3 days we were able to pick our daughter up and hold her in our arms. By the 4th day we were able to rock with Meadow and Aiden together, outside the confines of her bed, as every parent dreams of doing with their babies. And on the 5th day, as our baby girl Meadow was baptized, each of our family members that were with us were able to hold their granddaugther/niece and rock with her as well... Jeremy and I spent hours with our Meadow and Aiden in our arms together that day... We are so grateful for these time we had with our daughter... these precious memories and her amazing spirit are all that we have and we cherish them so close to our hearts. Remembering is hard, as the tears running down my face remind me... Ultimately, Jeremy and I knew why we were given these special "priviledges" with our Meadow Anne... and as estatic as we were to have them, a small piece of or hearts broke each time... knowing.... but the comfort in knowing that God had a better plan for our little girl and that she is with Him looking down on us and smiling... we do not question God's Plan for our Angel Meadow...

And now, here we are with our fragile little ones in the NICU again. But God has a much different plan for our family this time... our four babies are in this very special place to grow, to get healthy, and, above all, to rest until that day we are able to bring them all home with us. We are given no special priviledges because our babies are so delicate and therefore we must follow what the doctor's and nurse's tell us is best for each of them on any particular day. And it does change, day by day, sometimes hour by hour. The reality of having to hear "Today has been a rough day for... So we are leaving them alone as much as possible." (Read: Do your best not to disturb this baby at all right now. This includes whispering only and absolutely no touching.) is very tough to process when a mere 4 hours ago this baby might have been the one doing the best. We often want to ask "BUT WHAT HAPPENED?" but we know the answer, time and time again, is nothing specific. Through our tears, as we watch our babies take a step back, then a step forward, then 3 steps back, then... we are told time and time again that "This is to be expected for preemies. It is not out of the ordinary and we fully expect they will rebound within 24-48 hours once..." It rarely stops the tears, but we appreciate the sincere compassion in which our doctor's and nurse's address us with. I, as you may know, am a hugger... and so upon meeting each one of our children's doctor's or nurse's... well, I hug them. I know exactly how important their relationship and gentleness with our babies matters. We have seen both sides of the spectrum in the NICU. And my hope is that by opening up that door to our hearts and allowing myself to open up to them, they, in turn, will treat our babies a little more like their own... I truly believe it matters and building this relationship is absolutely critical with each and every one of our babies caregivers. And now, Jeremy and I both feel that the majority of them respond to us as if we have known them for years... not days. The hugs flow freely... we ask how each other are doing... and we MEAN it when we ask... on occasion, I have actually been followed out of the NICU by a nurse so that she could try to quiet my heartbroken tears with a hug... followed out of the NICU by a nurse so that she could tell me it really, truly IS going to be OK.

These people are a very special breed and Jeremy and I are eternally grateful they have been chosen to enter our lives as caregivers for our babies...

One of the hardest parts of our rollercoaster is feeling so completely void of any control with our babies health and happiness. I can barely stand to type the words... it is the hardest thing imaginable to watch your perfect little babies suffer... and not be able to do a single thing about it. On the good days, we now have the amazing pleasure of cradling our babies heads and bodies with our hands... and the occasional holding of their precious little hand... several times we have now been asked to help change their diapers... and, as of yesterday, help change their bedding - which is the ultimate emotional experience because we actually get to hold our babies above their beds while the nurse's do their work... granted, we are "holding" (more like suspending) them above their beds, and not in our arms or on our chests.... but we take so much pleasure in these times and each new experience.

We have been known to bend over to sing lull-a-byes to our children through the tiny isolette access holes for hours on end before we have to leave them at night... and one time, just one so far, I was actually able to smell one of our babies heads as I cradled it during his echo... please remember as you read this the first time you held your baby and leaned down to smell their little head... again, it is one of a parent's guilty pleasure's that we all take for granted until the day it is taken away from you. Is there many smells we experience as pure and heavenly as a newborn babies skin?

I think not.

All Jeremy and I have to soothe our babies is our voice, our smell, and our gentle touch from a far through two openings in these isolette's. And we long for the moment's we are allowed to share these precious times with our babies.

My last night in the hospital was a night that I will never forget. I walked into the NICU late at night to spend time with my babies... I knew these ultra-late night excursions were going to become much more difficult once I was released. And on this night upon entering our "quad corner" (that's our section of the NICU) I was horrified to find all three of our boys crying. Imagine this little cry... it's absolutely heartbreaking... you look at their little bodies writhing around... you look at all the tubes and cords attached to them and KNOW how uncomfortable they must be... these beautiful little things only know to cry when something isn't right... they are suffering... and my heart was absolutely shattered. As hard as the nurse's were trying, none of them were able to console our little boys that night.

I felt so helpless.

So empty inside.

But instead of standing back and continuing to watch in horror, I decided that I was going to do whatever I could (read: whatever they would let me do) to soothe our baby boys and let them know how much mommy loves them.

I started with Dane, our baby D. I approached the nurse and asked if I could try and she was so sweet to encourage me with a "Only a mommy can help these boys tonight. I know he'll respond to you."

Sometimes, it's the little things people say and do that have the biggest impact. And those words, maybe not so memorable to her, gave me the confidence and strength I needed that night to gently cradle each of my boys heads and feet and sing to them each until they were calmed and sound asleep again.

I was able to spend time with Dane, then Cameron, and then, suprisingly even little, fragile Brock, whom they had been very reluctant to let us touch for days... and they each responded so well to my touch and the sound of my voice... for once, I had an ounce of control and had been allowed to soothe my babies... thank you, thank you, thank you to each of their nurse's that night. Thank you for allowing me to have that time with each of them and reassure myself that as their mommy I DO have the ability to let them know they are loved... let them know they are not alone... let them know I am there with them... and sing them to sleep.

I understand that there are certain dangers in allowing too much stimulation to our delicate babies. But on this night, the power of my touch and the sound of my voice was the only way to their hearts... praise God for these memories... and for these four little miracles in our lives.

Never under estimate your own power to heal and love through touch...

Thank you all for your continued prayers for our beloved Summer, Brock, Cameron, and Dane. Today was a great day with all of them... today was a day of no tears, only smiles... I know we have the good Lord and each of you to thank for their health and our own strength to make it to this point.

Good night.

I hope you smile as you see this last picture of our beautiful Summer... before she had to go bad on the CPAP... how we enjoyed watching her gorgeous eyes on us... and we will again soon when she feels a little better.

Happy, Happy by Lew

These kids, I tell ya', they are gonna push their parents to the limit!

So we leave the hospital last night all shook up. Summer is sick and probably doing the worst of The Quads, Brock is fussing and trying to rip out any tube or wire he can get his hands on, Cam is fidgety and fussy and has us worried in general, and then there's Dane. Dane-O. Laying on his back sawing logs with not a worry in the world. Dane-O. Pushing the "Feed Me Now Button". Dane-O. Sawing logs with his mouth wide open! It never fails, at least one of these little buggers is doing something that makes us laugh.

I just left the hospital, and dammit, all four of those little buggers are doing good. All four made Tonya and I laugh. All four are doing better than when we left last night, and when I saw them this morning! What a difference a blood transfusion and some lipids makes. I don't know what any of that shit is or means, but The Quads sure seem to love that stuff! Just kidding, I know Summer got a blood transfusion to get her platelets up and lipids are broken down fats and what not that get to the kids through their UVCs...

I have learned so much about myself (and doctor talk), my wife, and how strong a 2 to 3 pound person is in these past few days. Mostly, you need to take this NICU ride one day at a time. Well, maybe only one half day or less at a time. One moment, they all look like they are struggling. The next moment, alls well in the world of laying on your back OR belly and whining whenver you are hungry...and vice versa.

Also, Cams little noggin has been consistent with measurements and they put a different Cpap harness on and his little noggin just looks better. That is all we have to go on right now with Cam. So we will use that as a positive.

One thing is for sure, Dane-O looks like he is growing. Oh yeah, and Summer, Brock and Cam are all nice and tan after being under the tanning light for a day (jahndus/billy rubin stuff, however you spell those things). I couldn't tell for sure, but I think they have coon eyes from the foam shades they had to wear!

All in all, Tonya and I couldn't be any happier right now! But, we are not getting too happy as we have seen first hand that things can change at the drop of a dime...

Now we just need to get our schedules adjusted to balancing the wild banches at The Manor and the little munchkins in the NICU! Tonya's mom is back at The Manor, continuing to sacrifice her life for us. Again, speechless.

I think Aidens prayers and Meadows oversight is really helping The Quads dig deep. That, in addition with all of your prayers, thoughts, and words of encouragement.

Some final thoughts. I seem to be starting to compare the past few days in the NICU to football. Not sure why, probably something to do with how I played it and how much I love it. But, life in the NICU is like football. You have to pick yourself up, put the last play behind you, get back in the huddle, and get ready for the next play. The Quads are doing just that. They are making their dad proud.

I also have found myself coming up with thought-provoking statements, for instance:

If you don't have faith, then when you are dead you are dead.

That is deep. I mean real deep. Tonya and I have never had so much faith. Seeing our little ones struggling for life makes you think about things that you don't like to think about, and things that you don't want to think about.

Thank you all for all of the encouraging thoughts and words - you are all helping us through this wonderful ride!

Also, the staff at Munson, they are keeping our kids alive. How do you thank someone for that. We owe the staff at Munson so much. Thank you.

Peace out,

Monday, August 4, 2008

4 Days Lew

4 days old and chugging away!

Tonya got released from the hospital today. That is both good and bad. It's good that she is doing good, physically. However, we both could not be any sadder leaving the hospital without our little ones. It was a very difficult good bye for me today. I took Aiden and Cale back to The Manor and Tonya is saying her goodbyes...

We have been told numerous times from the nurses that these first 10 days are crucial. We are seeing progress and regress on a daily basis.

All in all, I think The Three Amigos and The Pricess are doing good. Summer is getting too damn comfortable and sometimes forgets to breath...that got her back on some oxygen...silly little girl forgetting to breath like that.

Brock, my main temper tantrum throwing man, has himself on the Cpap! Brock has been improving since he was put on the Soothtilator and he continues to improve with the Cpap. By far the biggest menace for the nurses that Brock.

Tonya and I are starting to worry more and more about Cameron. The leaky valve is expected to fix itself, but his little noggin has us aching. Cam will be getting a second brain scan on Thursday or Friday. We are praying hard for progress.

Dane and Cam are neck and neck for 2nd place in The Biggest Temper Tantrum Race. Summer is just to high brow to stoop to such a level - atta girl!

The staff expects Dane's Holy Lung to fix itself. His latest chest x-rays indicate the hole is stable to shrinking.

The Three Amigos, and possibly Summer, get chest x-rays each morning. If warranted, additional x-rays are completed as needed. The x-rays are evaluated for lung development. The nurses do quite a bit of blood work, primarily to check oxygen levels. Due to the inability of their lungs to do a majority of the work on their own, monitoring the oxygen levels in their blood is essential to verify adequate levels are provided to their brains and elsewhere.

So, that's about all I have for now. Just not feeling real bloggy today.

Qauddy Daddy

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Road of Life by Lew

You get the news. You don't know how to process it. You cry, you smile, you hold your loved one in your arms. You listen to your heart. You pray. You ask God for guidance. You are pregnant with quads. You ask God to look over your little ones. You do everything in your power to make it right. You bring four beautiful babies into this world. You pray. You smile. You cry. You smile. You cry. You pray.

The day comes and you look at four of the most delicate and fragile forms of life you have ever seen. They are your babies. You smile. You cry. Your babies are fighting. They are fighting to breath. They are fighting to grow. They are breathing and they are growing. They are your children.

If the road were straight and narrow, how would it be? How would this world be if there weren't unexpected turns? If there weren't up and downs? How would life be? Life is not easy, that is for sure. It is not easy for anyone, no matter who you are.

Tonya and I are able to handle whatever life can throw at us. We learned a lot about life from Meadow Anne. We learned more from Meadow than any other person we have come in contact with.

Right now, we are praying extra prayers for Cameron. Cameron has a cyst in his noggin. Though the cyst may go away, right now it is there. Although the cyst may be in an area of the brain that might not affect Cameron's future, the cyst is there. Cameron has a larger than normal ventricle in his noggin. The situation with the ventricle may just go away. Or it may not. Our Baby C. Cameron. I am praying that he has his mothers strength. His mother will. He has our love. He has angels looking down on him. He has people praying for him. No matter what, Cameron will be the man.

Dane. Baby D. Dane is situated in his cute little bed in a way that will hopefully expedite the healing of a hole that was discovered in Dane's lung. I'm thinking Dane will run a marathon one day. He will run a marathon, motivated by a hole in his lung at the age of 3...3 days old. That is motivation to me, to us.

If life were easy, how would it be? These obstacles will no doubt make Cameron and Dane assets to our society. Cameron and Dane will remain strong, they will be strong, they will stare you in the eye and say "I can do it". We know they will.

Cameron and Dane need an extra prayer or two, they need motivation to overcome these obstacles. We know they will find the motivation. We pray they will conquer their obstacles.

"He's a wild one"! That is how the doctors and nurses describe Brock. We love it! He wants no part of anything. Brock grabs tubes, wires, whatever he can get his hands on and he rips them out! Brock Hunter is tough. Don't mess with him. Mess with the bull and you get the horns baby! All signs point to Brock getting off the Soothtilator in a day or so. I'll quote Brock's doctor: "He has a temper". I love that. I love a temper. You need a temper. Aiden has a temper. I love Aiden's temper. Aiden is very competitive. I can't wait to watch Aiden and Brock go head to head.

Summer. The name says it all. We all love summer time. Summer is all smiles. When those eyes look at you, you can't help but cry. She's one of a kind.

These are The Lewandowski Quadruplets. They are a blessing.

Each one of them is fighting. Summer is fighting for her brothers and her brothers are fighting to get where she is.

The news of Cameron and Dane came after thorough examination and review of today's chest x-rays (Dane's Holy lung) and yesterday's noggin scan (Cameron's cyst and ventricle). One moment, we are smiling. The next we are crying.

Life's a bitch. Each one of these kids will tell you day. A lot of people we have met in the last 5 weeks will tell you that.

Get busy living people.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Our Quads Birthday in Review...

So how DID it all happen? Why DID we have our babies a week prior to our expected delivery date?

You want details, I've got 'em, folks. And it was a crazy ride for us all...

12:25am - I suddenly find myself awake, after "falling asleep" a mere 1/2 hour prior. No big surprise at this stage of the game. I have been logging about one bathroom break per 90 minutes throughout the night, in addition to 10-400 belly adjustments/restless leg issues/just plain uncomfortable wake ups per night for about 2 weeks now. I believe that this is God's way of preparing us mommies for the sleep deprivation to come once the baby/babies arrive... so it's not really note-worthy or something to complain about, just part of the master plan.

However this wake felt different.

I visited my bathroom friend and, as usual, I was not disappointed by my kidney function at any hour.

I readjusted my 8 pillows (no exaggeration) about a dozen times, much to my hubby's sleeping pleasure.

Leg under the covers. Leg out of the covers.

Socks on. Socks off.

Move legs. Move legs again.

Rotate ankles.

Roll to right side. Lay on back. Back to the left side.

And it wasn't just the usual "uncomfortable" feeling that makes you drive yourself nuts... why did I feel so sick? Was it something I had ate? Great - girl's night gone bad! OK, I'll get some Tums.

And might as well use the restroom while I'm up, eh? Potentially save myself a trip in 20 minutes. Only I accidentally wake Caleb when I get up - and he wakes up Aiden... so I end up taking both of THEM to the bathroom too.

Yikes. Pretty sure that wasn't the best idea. But they are out again in 2 seconds.

Hmmmmm... back to bed, but tums having zero effect. Am I going to barf? What the heck??

OK. Maybe I'm HUNGRY? I did have a salad... and those babies must be growing!!

Get a cereal bar, open and eat as quietly as possible. Not quiet enough because then JEREMY is up in the restroom.

Well... that didn't help.

Man oh man... it's going on 1:45am now and this MUST be food poisoning because the pain is going NO WHERE... in fact, it feels like it's getting WORSE. Ugh.

Wait a minute. My stomach is no where near my abdomen now-a-days... it's up under my rib cage... and THAT'S not where the pain is coming from... it's my whole BELLY... and, hmmm... now that I think about it... why is my stomach so HARD? And the babies have been going NUTS since I woke up...


How am I supposed to freaking know?!?! I've never HAD THEM!!! OK, breathe.

Get up and go into the hallway to read the 'Preterm Labor' chapter out of one of my Multiples books. Not that I haven't read it 20 times by now, but it takes on a whole different light when you are thinking you may be in the midst of it!!! I agree with... uhhhh... myself I guess after reading it that ANYTHING COULD BE PRETERM LABOR.


That's clear as mud, folks. WHY DIDN'T I WRITE THIS BOOK!!! MORONS!!! (I don't think that NOW, but at the time... yeah... I wasn't impressed in the heat of the moment.)

Go back into the room to guzzle a lot of water and lay back down on my left side to see if the pain/hardening/going to vomit feeling go away.

5 minutes.... nope.

10 minutes.... nope.

15 minutes.... OK.... I'm calling the d*mn hospital.

No playing tough girl, Tonya. Because if this IS something we have a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE TO ASSEMBLE to make this go smoothly... so don't jack it up with your tough girl pride.

I call maternity and, go figure, I need to come in so they can check us out. Alright. Breathe. No going back now because they are EXPECTING us... what did I just do? AHHHH!!!!!

2:30am - Time to wakie up Jeremy. Wow - I feel bad. Poor guy is actually sleeping, and if I am being a big horn blower over nothing he's going to have to go to WORK tomorrow (in the field no less).

It really was hard to wake up Jeremy this morning... not that I thought he'd be mad or anything, but because I really was afraid that it was nothing and I HATE the thought of dragging him out in the middle of the night for his wife being a big baby. But I knew what I had to do, my stomach was a rock and the waves of nausea were getting intense.

He was so sweet when I gently shook him and said "Baby, I need to go to the hospital. I'm sorry to wake you... but I think I might be having contractions." He bounded up and was like all in motion - not bad for 2:30am - add the panicked deer in the headlights look.

Long story short, Jeremy told you the rest of that story. Yes, I was having contractions, but they were 8-10 minutes apart still. This was VERY HARD for me to decipher being as big as I was at that point... I couldn't differentiate really well. But the biggest thing, according to Dr. Danz, was the fact that when she checked me I was not dialated at ALL and my cervix still hadn't budged (steel cervix). So the initial course of action, per Dr. Danz, was to "hold tight", stay in the hospital until our 8am doppler (only about 3 hours away at this point) and see what transpires.

I believe she even said that if the contractions stop and the doppler looked good, she guessed I would go "home" (to the Manor) later that morning. This sounded like a decent plan to me - and I was a bit relieved to know that I now knew what a contraction felt like ... a really minor contraction compared to those you natural birth women get to experience... no comparison I'm sure!!

Next thing you know, our doppler goes GREAT, probably one of the better ones for Brock (formerly known as Baby B... hee, hee) and I'm thinking I am SO outta' there!!

9:30am - Untiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllll... on our way out of the door from ultrasound we run into Dr. St. Charles, the Neonatologist... and he wants to give me a "heads up" that he's talked to Dr. Madion, who has talked to Dr. Jelsema, in regards to the fact that I should deliver these babies soon. The primary concern is now my C-section scar, having TWO previous sections, and now that I am having some decent contractions (his words, not mine ladies!!) the chance for rupturing that scar is much higher... which would be, as we all know, catostrophic.

That was my "heads up" - the first indication that our team of doctor's for our quads wanted us to deliver earlier than our goal date.

My mom and the boys were with me through the doppler as Jeremy was in the field for work, so once we got back to my room I asked my mom to take the boys out to play somewhere while I cleared my head (read: freaked out) and immediately called Jeremy to relay the "heads up" information.

11:15am - I finally get visited by Dr. Madion (not that I'm complaining, just noting that I was in complete limbo for almost 2 hours wondering what was up!! He's a busy dude, I get it!). and by the end of our discussion at 11:30am the entire crew is in full swing QUAD MODE prepping me for delivery at 1pm. Before he came to see me he wanted to make sure that they could assemble the entire Quad Team, consisting of around 24 people, and make it all happen so quickly. But Dr. Madion said that there was no question in any of their minds that the contractions would cause far too much stress on my exisiting scar - already stretched to the max. Right at that minute we knew we had 4 healthy babies to deliver, so let's not take any chances testing fate and get them out of there while we know we can.

That's right: I said 1pm. A mere 1-1/2 hours away... and I can't get a hold of Jeremy on his cell phone to save my life... knowing he's north of Elk Rapids still... yikes!!!

I called my mom next to let her know what was going on and she began assembling the boys to take them over to Heidi's house so that she could try to be there for the birth. THANK YOU AGAIN, HEIDI!!! Our boys really DO love going over to her house and her sister Katy's house to play - kids eveywhere! But still, it's great to know that we have friends we can call on in the blink of an eye.

11:45am - Finally get a hold of Jeremy... I love that man so much... he's on his way...... I feel better already.

12:05pm: Dory is going to be one of my delivery nurses... that's right, the SAME nurse Dory that I forced into calling security on me... she doesn't appear to be holding a grudge?

12:07pm: Picture time!! Dory is forced into being my little photographer since I have no hubby yet. FINAL QUAD PREGNANCY BELLY PIC!!!

12:10pm: I saw this on one of the other quad blogs I had found waaaaay back when I was working (prior to 20 weeks) - they labeled where on the mom's belly each baby had resided and took a pic. I think Dory got WAY down unda' to make sure we got a good look at Summer's position (formerly known as Baby A) - that plus the LEAAAAAAAN I'm putting into it make me look a little odd - but you get the idea =)

12:30pm: WHERE IS MY HUSBAND!?!?!?!?!!

12:35pm: I tell Dory that "I am not going through with this without my husband here by my side." She chuckles and says "Of course your not."

12:38pm: Does she know I'm serious?

12:42pm: HE'S HERE!!!!! I started to feel like I was going to be left at the altar or something!! Cold feet, honey?? Juuuuuuuuusssssssssst kiiiiiiiiidddddddddddiiiiiiinnnnnnnggggggggggggggg....... my blood pressure returns to normal.

12:45pm: Anasteseologist Sean is here. NOW we are getting down to bidness, peeps. This man is GREAT. Seriously - we had him with Caleb too... he's so easy going, laid back, yet dynomite at what he does and in being 120% thorough in explaining every single detail and answering any questions you might have.

12:50pm: Grammie comes racing in the door. WE HAVE LIFT OFF. ALL SYSTEMS A-GO.

12:57pm: Dr. Sean finishes his preliminary work with us and it now officially GO TIME. Let's get this party started. You ever seen such a cute yet dorky looking couple? I think Jeremy would make one hot doc...

And just like that we are in the operating room, with a whole lot of doctor's, nurse's, and others... Dr. Madion gave one final "Who's on Baby A?", "Who's on Baby B?", "Who's on Baby C?", and "Who's on Baby D?" shout out to each of the teams standing guard at their labeled incubators. It felt extremely well orchestrated and I knew that we, and our babies, were in very good hands. Organized chaos for sure - but for crowding so many people into one room I never once felt the chaos part of the equation... what an amazingly smooth, focused team we had delivering our babies... thank you to each and every one of you for your part in ensuring their safe delivery. And as they whisked Jeremy in to be by my side at the very last second (why do they like to stress us out like that? I kept saying "Where is my prince charming?") I held his hand for support and looked deep into those eyes who have carried me through so much and said "Let's give one last prayer for four healthy babies... please God...."

And here they come:

These are some of the very first pictures we have of our babies... they may be a little tough to see for any of you who have lived the NICU experience as we are now in the midst of... so I want to forewarn you. But we feel comfortable sharing these pictures with those of you who have been so kind in following our pregnancy, praying for each of our babies every step of the way... and I hope you will all remember in looking at our babies how beautiful they truly are without all the medical equipment they have to hide behind right now....

1:15pm~Baby A: Summer Anne, 2#4oz

1:16pm~Baby B: Brock Hunter, 2#9oz

1:17pm~Baby C: Cameron Thomas, 2#13oz

1:18pm~Baby D: Dane Taylor, 2#14oz

And then here's poor Grammie... stuck in the room and pacing the hallway (before she got kicked out of the hallway - is that legal to do that to a Grammie in waiting?) for nearly FOUR HOURS before she was able to see me... thank goodness my girlfriend Dana came up for the delivery too (YOU ROCK, Aunt Dana!!) and was able to distract her for a little bit... before she went off shopping for our little ones (opps!! A girl's gotta' do, what a girl's gotta' do though.. hee, hee..)!!
And now, as Jeremy has been sharing, we are the proud parents to all six of our children... four of them in the NICU trying to get healthy enough to come home to us... and the two older brother's who are anxious to see these babies that have magically come out of mommies belly... it's been a confusing, hard road for our two big guys as well and I want to let them know how proud we are of them for doing the best they possibly can to understand everything that is going on around them right now. It has been excrutiatingly tough to be away from them for as long as I have and I once again want to thank my parents for being here to ease this time as much as they can by being a constant in our boys life in this time of constant flux with Jeremy and I gone most of the day and all night with the quads....
I know that this blog may seem a little off the beaten path with everything we have going on with our little ones, but I wanted to share the WHOLE STORY on how our babies destinies were determined this past week... and perhaps provide a little break or comic relief for myself with all that we have going on in the NICU. Thank you for your continued prayers for our babies... and our whole family, as we embark on this journey together.

Healthy Hearts!

Wow, great nights sleep for both of us! Emotion makes you tired!

So we got into the NICU around 8ish this morning and The Quads were getting the scans completed on their little noggins! Haven't heard from anyone regarding results, but Dr. St. Charles did not expect any anomalies. I'll follow up with that when we get word.

Brock had a rough night. He seems to get rather worked up if he needs to be moved or poked for blood. I guess I would too...

Summer continues to amaze and Cam and Dane are chugging along.

The doctors decided to complete the cardio echograms on all three boys. How can we not start calling The Quad Boys The Three Amigos?! I love it!

Could Brock possibly be the amigo the healthiest heart? That's what the preliminary echo results suggest! Gosh dang trouble maker! Dr. Schneider, the Neonatal Cardiologist from Spectrum will be looking over the results today. The "Echo Marathoner" from Munson, Kelly, did a fabulous job with all the boys. She was on the clock due to the length of available tape at Spectrum, and she did a wonderful job with time to spare. Most importantly, The Three Amigos remained cool, calm, and relatively collected which enabled her to do her job well. Prelim suggests Cam has a small PDA. Don't recall what the doctor terms for the acronym are, but I call it a leaky valve. Dr. Schneider will make a decision on whether or not to let Cam close that valve on his own or provide some assistance with medicine.

They threw some other acronyms around, but this brought tears to our eyes: Dr. Schneider asked Kelly if there were any abnormalities, Kelly said No. Dr. Schneider asked is the hearts appeared normal. Kelly said Yes. Tears, relief, a couple huge ass sighs, and then smiles!

I think what we are looking at is some little ones that need some TLC to help them get their acts together. Summer continues to lead by example, she just needs to pull her brothers on board.

Let it flow! Tonya seems to have struck liquid gold! That is such good news and such a relief. These babies need breast milk, and we are so fortunate to have Mrs. Moomer back in the saddle!

Brock remains on the Soothtilator and Cam and Dane have their Cpaps going. I know we have an angel helping us. The Three Amigos will pull through.

We can't wait to be able to hold them! Dane had a white-knuckled grip on my finger during his heart scan - it was so cute. They all grab and hold your finger as soon as your finger touches their hand. It totally melts you and makes you want to cry.

So, I want to talk about some stuff. I need to chat with Tonya first before I go over the top. I would like to go "in depth" on what we are going through. Seeing your children as The Quads are now is extremely difficult. Thinking about significant issues that could arise with one or more is even more difficult. We can handle this, not everyone can. We, as in our whole family, are being pushed to our limits, but we are hanging tough. The Quads are way tougher than the rest of us, by far. There are so many more factors that need to be considered before someone just jumps into fertility treatments. Factors that aren't really brought to your attention. I'm telling you, seeing your children as The Quads are now is not for everyone. This experience is eye opening. What I mean by that is it has made me look at a controversial "topic" from different angles, or all sides. The topic is fertility treatments, it's presence in our society, how the church feels about it, why we do it, to name a few. But, I'm going to pull the reins in until I talk more with Tonya. But I seriously want to go nuts with this. We made a decision and I will punch anyone in the face if they call us out for any decision we made.

Anyway, sorry about that, must just be the most popular question that is posed to us has finally caught up with me. I know it caught up with Tonya awhile back, but now I have the bug and the bug is bugging me.

We aren't sure when Tonya will be released from the hospital. There was talk of possibly tomorrow, but it seems like Monday would be more likely.

Again, thank you all for your postings, phone calls, emails, etc. that include nothing but the nicest comments to our family- it all means so much to us.

Summer is so cute, I mean she is just so cute!

Lastly, I Love Munson! The Quads are in good hands. Heck, I get all choked up trying to explain how amazing the birth was, the organized chaos, it tears me up. The nurses that are caring for The Quads, I start to think about them, and I get all teared up. There really are some amazing people in this world.

Thank you,

Breath Babies Breath!

Tonight was a tough goodnight. It seems as though saying goodnight to The Quads will continue to get harder. It breaks your heart when a hand that small reacts so strongly to your finger as it's placed gently in their palms...

But, let me tell you, this chick Summer, yeah, she is cute, she is content, and she does not need any help breathing...if only her brothers would catch up soon...Honestly, amazing doesn't do her justice. Seriously, she breaths on her own, no help whatsoever! Both Tonya and I got to change a Summer diaper today - it was great! I'm sure that attitude will eventually fade...Yeah, these diapers, they call them wimpee's. For lack of comparison to anything else, they look about the size of a small maxipad. Basically you look at them and can't believe what you are looking at.

Cameron and Dane, these two are something else. We walked into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) tonight to see a pile of Cameron Dung! Awesome! The Great Dane breaths really fast, maybe that means he'll run fast on the ball field? Also, Dane packed on 2 ounces, got himself up to an even 3 pounds! Cameron and Dane remain on the Cpap (pardon the lack of technical jargon). The Cpap provides a certain percentage of forced oxygen into their lungs via a mask that covers only their noses. Cam and Dane have been near 21 percent oxygen - that is what we breath, that's good. I think Dane may have creept up a bit this evening, but they are both doing well. When I say crept up, what I mean is they increase the percentage of oxygen in the provided air to increase the oxygen content in their blood. Cam and Dane have one step before they get to where Summer is. Their next step is forced regular air, then no help at all. These two both had a shot of surfactant. Dane had his yesterday and Cam had his today (Ithink that's how it went). Anyway, surfactant helps the lungs do their thing. I don't think Summer had a dose. Based on their day, it doesn't appear as though they will need any more surfactant.

That brings us to Mr. Brock. You all know about him, our little trouble maker. Well Mr. Brock decided to relax too much today and not work his lungs hard enough. So what did Brock get? He got a vibrating ventilator! Sounds better than a regular ventilator, right? Yes, this puppy has been dubbed the "Soothtilator" by me. It generates a soothing sort of burring noise/motion. It was tough being with Brock tonight. Tears were shed. He's tough, gotta be if your name is Brock. Brock is having a difficult time keeping his oxygen levels up. He needs a bit more help than Cam and Dane. He will pull through, he just needs a little more time. Brock gets a cardio echogram tomorrow to verify the closing of a particular valve in his heart. Basically an ultra sound of the heart. Some valve is supposed to close after about a day or so after birth. If it doesn't close, it kind of jacks up blood flow and results in depleted oxygen levels in the blood stream. Broch had required about 40% oxygen this morning - that got him his FIRST does of surfactant. Yes, he didn't need one yesterday, but things got a bit more difficult for Brock through the night. Anyhow, our cardio doctor that we had at Devos for Meadow will be watching the echogram real time down in Grand Rapids. We have a lot of respect for the cardio doctor at Devos. Dr. Schneider said some things to us down there that will never be forgotten. Hopefully he'll have good news for us tomorrow. If not, stuff can be done to close the valve and get Mr. Brocks ticker running properly. Dr. St. Charles came in tonight to check out Brock. He got a second surfactant dose and the nurses worked hard to stabilize his breathing and oxygen. When we said goodnight, he was calm, content, and on his way off the Soothtilator.

The time we spent in the NICU tonight brought back a lot of memories from our time with Meadow. Tonight was very difficult. Especially since earlier today I had told Tonya how different the NICU was this time around since the conditions were so different. It's just a tough place to be in. It's just tough. I couldn't keep the tears off my face, especially when standing over Brock. We know The Quads will pull through, it's just tough when you relate back to what we went through with Meadow. Brock was getting a lot of TLC when we were there tonight. I got to assist with some stuff, and having that little bugger grab my hand did me in.

We are really thankful for all the little things the nurses do for our babies and we are reassured by the presence of Dr. St. Charles. We know The Quad Boys will pull through.

We just can't wait to be able to hold these little buggers. I tucked Aiden and Cale in at the Manor tonight. Aiden had a special prayer for Brock tonight - he asked God to make sure that Brock starts breathing better. Hopefully Aidens little angel can get that message in the right hands...that was some prayer.

We had some visitors today - Mike and Debbie Schafer, Carol from Hawk's Eye, and George Moeke's Mom, Kay. Thank you. Also, My mom, sister Jessica, and neice Avery were in attendance along with Tonya's brother Glenn, sister in-law Tracy, and of course her mom and dad. Good stuff to have family with us. Couldn't do this without their help.

We are remaining optimistic that The Quad Boys will get their act together like their big sis. I decided that since Summer is the older, she decided to lead by example and kick that oxygen to the curb. She is pulling for her brothers, as are we.

We got to spend a lot of time with The Quads today. Assisting the nurses with little diaper changes and shifting the babies. It is a big deal when they ask us to help, I don't think they realize how much it means, especially to Tonya.

Tonya is doing great. As everyone probably has imagined, she is up and around less than 24 hours after her C-section. Can't hold her back. She sat by Brock and pumped tonight and was able to touch him while pumping. That resulted in her biggest output to date. She was able to bank maybe 5 cc of breast milk - that's huge. Getting flow this early from a premature birth is very difficult. Tonya will pull through, and I have decided to term her "Moomer". Since she love Moomers Ice Cream so much, I thought it was appropriate. We are praying she is able to product like a cow...

We got pictures of each baby getting their first dose of breast milk today. It is fed to them through a tube that is inserted either through their nose or mouth into their stomach. Yeah, not exactly like eating pizza, but that's how it has to be. They each got 1 cc pushed through the tube by a syringe. Which reminds me, these poor little babies have quite a few sensors and wires and tubes stuck to them and stuffed in them. All part of the deal, but it is tough to look at. Cam crapped his out like 4 hours of so after getting it!

All in all it was a very emotional day Lots of smiles and quite a few tears. We are remaining optimistic that The Quad Boys will pull through. Regardless, they will get every damn bit of love we can muster. And my man Aiden sent words for Brock to his angel tonight. For those of you that don't know, Aiden is connected. Brock will be fine. In fact, he ripped his traich tube out a bit tonight. We took that as a good thing, the one nurse yelled "We got a wild man here"!

Thanks again for all of your support. Also, many thanks to the staff at Munson. The birthing process was an incredible display of teamwork and the staff has been so kind to our family and The Quads. They have made this a wonderful experience and we are so fortunate to have our Quads in their care.

Sweet dreams,

sorry if the post is patchy, too tired to go back through it...