Oct 24, 2007

Day 7 - Rainbow 4

The boys have moved to a stepdown area of the hospital, which is a big step for them and for Teresa and I. For them it means no more CPAPs, intubators, bright lights, etc. For us, it means peace of mind knowing they're one step closer to coming home. It may be another week or two but we now have the freedom to stay in the room with them overnight. I'll take my turn with them this weekend while Teresa gets some much needed rest in the comfort of her own bed.

Oct 23, 2007

Day 6 - Breathing Easy

Caden and Cole are breathing easy as are Mom and Dad knowing that the boys CPAPs have been removed! This a result of good blood gas levels, normal respirations, etc. Teresa was at the hospital all afternoon and was able to hold each baby for an hour. By the time I arrived at 5:00 it was nearly feeding time and for the first time, they each received about 2 ml of Mom's milk. I was holding Cole as the milk went from a syringe through his feeding tube and into his belly and noticed the soothing effect it had on him as he was fast asleep within minutes. Cole has lost 300 g (0.66 lbs) since birth and will be put in an isolette to better regulate his temperature. This is so he doesn't have to expend the energy (i.e. calories) to regulate his own body temperature. Weight loss should not be an issue going forward as they're beginning to eat and are not having to work as hard to breathe.

Oct 22, 2007

Day 5 - Blue Lights

We were told yesterday that the boys bilirubin levels were getting a little high and that they may require some phototherapy treatment for mild jaundice (yellowing of the skin). Sure enough, we walked in to the NICU and there they were, bathed in blue lights. We joked that they were tanning because they had little masks to cover their eyes. We were free to touch them but were unable to hold them again. The nurses had built Cole a little nest of blankets, in which he was perfectly cozy. Every now and then he would stretch both of his legs straight out and up in the air, which looked really funny from the side as all you could see was his legs. Caden always has to have one hand up at his face or above his face. Even yesterday when Teresa was holding him, he worked his hand out from under the tightly wrapped blankets and put it next to his mouth. Both boys are on minimal settings on their CPAP and will probably have their central lines pulled soon.

Cole - Stretching


Day 4 - Mother's Touch

We finally got to hold the boys today! Teresa was discharged around 3PM and after loading up the car with her stuff, we made one last trip to the NICU to see the boys and say goodbye for the day. It was going to be an emotional visit knowing that we'd have to leave the hospital without them. One of the nurses must've sensed what we were feeling and asked if we had held them yet and would like to before we left. For 30+ minutes, Teresa held Caden and I held Cole. We just kep looking at each other so relieved to finally be holding the little guys. Cole was extubated in the morning and is doing great on the CPAP.

Cole hanging loose in his incubator

Day 3 - Extubation

Caden was extubated today while Cole continues to need a little more help. The doctors/nurses keep telling us how similar they're conditions are, except that Caden is about a day or so ahead of Cole. This is encouraging and gives us hope that with each step Caden takes, Cole isn't too far behind. The one thing that brings comfort to both Teresa and I is how comfortable they appear given all the wires and tubes leading to and from their little bodies. Cole was wide awake and looking around the room. Caden opens his eyes from time to time and makes us laugh as he ultimately ends up cross-eyes from not being able to focus. Each had a central line put in today for blood draws.


Cade - Central Line

Day 2 - Intubation

By the end of day 2, both boys had been intubated to further assist with their breathing. This is more of a "severe" measure but was necessary to assist them with their breathing. Caden, a tad bit smaller than Cole, is doing a little better than Cole and is on minimal settings (pressure and O2). Cole wasn't too far behind. It's possible that Caden will be extubated tomorrow given his progress. They are pulling blood samples from their feet, which is causing them to become bruised. They will continue pulling samples to check bilirubin levels (an indicator of jaundice in newborns) and blood gas levels (O2 and CO2) and may end up putting a central line through their belly buttons to obtain these samples easier and without continuing to irritate they're little feet.

Day 1 - Birthday

Our twin baby boys were born on Wednesday October 17 at 10:40 and 10:41 AM. Cole was first into this world weighing in at 5 lbs on the nose. Caden was out shortly thereafter tipping the scales at 4 lbs 8 ozs. About 5-6 weeks premature, they were taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to be cared for, focusing primarily on helping them breathe since they're lungs had yet to fully develop. They were never in what you would think of as critical condition, but they got off to a rough start. Day 1 consisted of being put on a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) unit, which is essentially a respirator that supplies oxygen rich compressed air via a hose connected to a nose piece (a very tiny nose piece) so that unobstructed breathing is possible. It was an incredible day to say the least. Teresa is doing good considering everything that she has been through in the last couple of days, not to mention the previous 8 months!


Cole Grady Whittaker


Caden Noah Whittaker

Oct 10, 2007

Finish Line Photos

Teresa and I had the funniest conversation last week. As I complained to her about how awful my finish line photo from Akron was going to be, she bounced me right back into reality by saying,

"Don't feel too bad. Imagine what my finish line photo is going to look like after having these babies!"

She always knows what to say to make me feel better. She even went as far as saying that if I held one of the babies she would signal "#1" with her free arm. So if you visit after the babies are born and see a picture of me finishing the Akron Marathon next to her post-delivery, you'll be "in" on the joke.

Turns out my finish line photo wasn't all that bad (sans elbow would have been better).

Move your elbow please!

I am a real American

The ultimate deception!

Oct 1, 2007


...my official finish time for the Akron Marathon this past Saturday. I ran amazingly for 22 miles but really struggled during the final 4, which is, of course, when it counts the most. To be honest, I'm surprised to have come so close to another sub-3. To think that I ran a 2:57 in May and a 3:01 in September, all the while planning for the arrival of twins.

- The weather was PERFECT! Low 50's at the start with not a cloud in the sky. 60's and sunny by 10AM. Sitting, sundrenched, in Canal Park watching for my friends was a highlight.
- Convenient, FREE parking. I drove up the morning of the race and had no problem with traffic or finding a parking space central to both the start and the finish.
- Final 16 miles were breathtaking (UofA campus, Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath, Sand Run, Stan Hywett Hall & Gardens)! The miles flew by (for the most part)!
- Six GU stations and plenty of water/aid stops. No need to carry anything with me at the start. Good, one less thing!
- Medal is hardcore!

- The finish inside of Canal Stadium was cool, but too much of a novelty in my opinion. I'd rather the finish be on the road where there's plenty of space and no stadium stairs to climb afterwards.
- Only one finish chute! I finished on the heels of two half marathoners and was forced to share the same finish chute with them, and therefore, the same finish line photo. How 'bout one chute for marathoners and one for half marathoners?
- Only two GU flavors (chocolate and vanilla). Vanilla worked fine once I knew Tri-Berry was not an option (should list flavor choices on the web page).

Throughout the course, I saw the name we will be giving to one of our sons multiple times. It showed up on two street signs and on a campaign sign placed in the yards of many houses along the course. I was inspired to say the least. Congratulations to Cathy, Dan, Athena, Elizabeth, Janet, Darryl, Matt, Sara, Debbie, Heather and Jody. Also, congrats and thank you to Nick for pacing with me for 12+ miles.