Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Take Home and NICU – Two Different Worlds

Bringing a new baby into this world is often a long awaited, very exciting time. Most women, from my personal observation at least, are sick of being pregnant towards the end and the last few weeks/days seem like an eternity as they anxiously wait the big “D-day”. The house has been ready, family and friends are on call, and a quiet nursery sits waiting to welcome a new sweet baby into their home. Finally, the day comes. Their water breaks or in many cases nowadays it’s their day and specific time to finally be induced. After a long labor and delivery or a quick cesarean, their sweet baby is here. Visitors come, flowers and endless gifts are delivered and within a few days mom and baby leave for home to start their new life together.

That’s what you think of when you think of the birth of a new baby, right? Somewhere near those lines anyway. For so many families the above scenario is a dream that fell short. Their deliveries were unplanned, unexpected and down right terrifying. One second everything is fine and the next they find themselves being told delivery is necessary for whatever reason regardless of how far along they are in their pregnancy. The complete opposite of something you would look forward to. Ready or not, here he/she comes and prematurity is suddenly on your doorstep.

Everyday thousands of babies are born too early. There are mothers who deliver and don’t hear a cry from their baby due to severely underdeveloped lungs. Rather than the new infant being placed in mom’s arms or on her chest after delivery, many are whisked away by a team of doctors while having breathing machines pushed down their throats in order to keep them alive before the mother even lays eyes on her baby. Their umbilical cords are not cut by their daddies but immediately taken out and replaced with arterial lines. There are new moms and dads who go days/weeks without getting to hold their new baby for the first time. Even worse, some never get to at all.

The parents of premature babies don’t get to experience a lot of what the parents of “take home babies” get to experience. While most go home and get to know and bond this new little life in the privacy of their own home, those parents of NICU babies long for the day they finally get one on one time with theirs. Many spend days/weeks/months asking nurses for permission to hold or even touch their baby. They must learn to know their baby and bond with their baby through the windows of incubators, over machines, wires and tubes. Many NICU parents wait weeks just to see their baby’s sweet face, bare, with no feeding or breathing tubes…which often is a sight of bruised, red and irritated skin due to the tape and equipment used on their delicate skin 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Parents of preemies walk away from the hospital hundreds of times without their babies. The long drive to the NICU becomes a part of a daily routine. Eat, sleep, work, NICU. Eat, sleep, work, NICU. Forget to eat, sleep, work, NICU. The cycle continues day after day after day. A preemie parent’s medical vocabulary increases just as fast as their baby came into this world. You quickly learn more abbreviations than the average teenager on any social network… TPN, IVH, BPD, PDA, and ROP are just a few that are now in your everyday lingo. Parents of full term babies are at home celebrating milestones like the first smile, rolling over, and sleeping through the night. In the NICU we celebrate the fact that our baby urinated, that they made it almost a whole 3 hours with their vent settings lowered and that they were able to go from one tubed feeding to the next with little residual.

Bret and I are some of the lucky ones who left the NICU with all of our babies. Some parents are not so fortunate. One thing is the same for all parents who spent any significant amount of time in the NICU and that is that it doesn’t end once you and baby come home. I think that’s the biggest misconception about prematurity, actually. Many seem to believe that once a premature baby is discharged, they are a “normal” healthy kid ready to get on with their life. The NICU was a time in the past, something we parents who were there should get over, forget about and move on. It just doesn’t work that way. Many of us see the long term effects that prematurity has on our children daily. I see multiple scars on their bodies each time I change or bathe my babies that remind me of that long NICU journey we were once on. I’ve just recently started answering their “what’s dat?” questions when they look at their baby pictures and see tubes coming from their mouths and noses and IVs and other gadgets coming from other parts of their bodies. Although I am confident my precious 4 will grow up to be happy, healthy, able adults, I expect that they will have struggles they face specifically linked to being born nearly 3 months early.

I’ve written this post to hopefully give everyone a (small) glimpse into the life of someone who delivered their baby(ies) early. Together we can help make a difference. Each dollar donated to the March of Dimes will help babies have a healthier start and a better chance at beating the odds stacked against them if they are born prematurely. People marched and supported the March for Babies walk long before mine were born which is part of the reason they are here today. I encourage you to give, even if just a few bucks, in honor of  the children in your life whether born healthy or premature. This is not about meeting our team goal and has nothing to do with “how much money can the Cox Quads raise”. It’s about every dollar going to support these babies and helping mothers carry to term in their pregnancies. It’s about every person across the US who walks in the March for Babies walk each year to help raise awareness. It’s about making a difference and giving babies a chance to fight who are unable to fight for themselves.

If you’d like to learn more about the mission of the March of Dimes visit their website by clicking here. To donate or learn more about our Dallas walk, visit our team page by clicking here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Welcome Beautiful Spring!

I’m here! Apparently we’ve got people with some serious Cox-Quad-Withdrawals going on and I apologize. I’ll admit though, I’m a bit flattered. Sometimes I wonder just how many people still read what I write and I’ve been reminded over the past few weeks there are PLENTY of you still tuned into our busy lives. I will tell you if you stay tuned you will not be disappointed :)  Remember you have the option of following via email. Simply enter your email addy in the box on the right side of your screen to subscribe to our feed.

The weather has been beautiful here in our neck of the woods lately and spring time is in the air! We had our local Moms of Multiples “Spring Fling” this weekend and had a blast. Bret’s been super busy 22/7 lately so I’ve been running things solo most of the time. Challenging but possible, nonetheless. This weekend’s Spring Fling was no exception. Pulling approximately 160lbs behind me the Quads and I chugalugged in our choo choo to join our fellow multiples families for some spring time fun!

When going out, especially among a numerous amount of other babies and toddlers I like to dress mine all the same or similar. It’s easier for me to spot mine out in a crowd when they’re all in yellow, red or in today’s case, overalls! Special thanks to Mamaw, we love the denim! Lots of pics for you today and several are multiple attempts at one picture. As always, it’s hard to get them all to look in one direction, at the same time. I’m able to bribe them nowadays (shame on me. whatever.) to do certain things for candy. It works…kinda. They all smile at some point, usually not the same point. The downfall is that the smiles are ridiculously fake. Epic fake. So forgive me for the multiples and enjoy…

Korbin, Kylee, Brody & Miss B

spring fling 2012 059Perfect example of the fake smile I was talking about. Kylee resembles a gummy grandma in serious need of some dentures here… spring fling 2012 062

There were many attractions during the Spring Fling (phenomenal job to our children’s parties coordinators by the way!). Between the train ride, the bounce houses, the food, the Easter Bunny (which we went NO WHERE NEAR) and the live animals you can bet my little crew wanted to spend every minute with the animals. The goats, of course, in particular. They were in Heaven!

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Kylee (using Miss Lefty to assist!!!) held her cup just close enough to draw the goats in but not quite close enough to feed them. Lil’ tease!

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Kylee and another fake smile standing “so tall” on the trailer. Notice her death grip on Angela…baby girl has developed a little fear of heights over the past few weeks.

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After last year’s Spring Fling I knew we had to be prepared for the big egg hunt this year. We spent some time yesterday practicing at home (I could do a whole post on that as well. Sheesh!) They did much better this year hunting for eggs and I’m pretty sure we came home with as many as we brought, which was the goal. Notice Kylee’s got hardly a bottom layer of eggs in her basket while Baxlyn’s is nearly overflowing ;)

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Never have I loved bald lil’ men as much as I have lately. Mmm sweet boys hold their mama’s heart!

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Enjoying a snack. Kylee, Baxlyn, florescent Brody& Korbin!spring fling 2012 117

Had to throw this one in of Kylee in the bounce house. Our timing to visit the bounce houses was perfect and they were empty. Kylee, for the first time, was able to ”jump jump” without being clobber clobbered and she loved it!

spring fling 2012 104spring fling 2012 175spring fling 2012 185Looking at the pigs! Seriously, I can’t get enough of the overalls! 

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Brody spending a lil time with the “heenk honks” as they call them ;) (Umm.. now that I read the sign “do not feed the horses” I’m thinking they are donkeys right?! Tell me I know my farm animals and the sign is wrong? eeek?)

spring fling 2012 145 spring fling 2012 148 More attempts at a group shot…spring fling 2012 158 spring fling 2012 161  Love this one of Baxlyn, sweet baby girl!spring fling 2012 164

“Everyone look at Mommy’s camera and smile…” “ok….nobody look at Mommy’s camera and smile?”

spring fling 2012 168Thought it would be a cool pic to stand a bit above them and have them all looking up. Didn’t turn out quite like I planned LOL. Reminds me of the other week’s “touch shoulders” pic! Technically they did just what I asked!

spring fling 2012 173                So, that’s it for today. Again, stay tuned and I won’t leave ya’ hangin’. For those of you who didn’t see our previous March of Dimes post, scroll down a bit and check it out. We’re…. umm….a teeny bit behind on meeting our goal and we need your help. The last two years we’ve blown our goal out of the water so I aimed high this year. Please, donate, and help us help the babies. Click here and follow the given link to donate or to read more about our personal mission to help fight against prematurity.

Until next time :] 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Help Support the March of Dimes!

  We are preparing for our big walk for the March of Dimes March for Babies! This will be our 3rd year to walk in order to raise support and awareness for the March of Dimes and it’s fight against prematurity.

So many people are affected by prematurity every day. Obviously prematurity and it’s long term affects are right up our alley and Bret and I never want to take for granted that our sweet babies are here today. I’ve seen so many parents of preemies that have had to say an early goodbye to their precious babies as they earned their wings so early. Bret and I, and our family and friends, walk not only to honor Brody, Baxlyn, Kylee & Korbin, but to recognize so many babies who lost their fight and now rest in God’s arms above.

So, how can you help? If you are local, feel free to register on our team page and walk with us! If you are not, visit the March for Babies website and find a local walk near you.  We would like to also ask you, our readers and long time supporters, to consider donating to our team. Keep in mind the funds raised in March for Babies support research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And they will be used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care. Your donation to the March of Dimes, ANY AMOUNT, is greatly appreciated by families just like ours. It’s because of your support, advances have been made to help save these babies who are born too early.

Click here to make a secure online donation or to learn more about the Dallas  walk!

A special thank you from our healthy growing miracles! Brody, Baxlyn, Kylee & Korbin at 32 weeks gestation, at 6 months, and today at 3 years old!

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A look back at the past two years!

The Cox Quads - March for Babies 2010

The Cox Quads - March for Babies 2011

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sometimes running out of dishwasher soap…

…is God’s way of making you slow down and take a moment to realize how blessed you are! As I sat washing {by hand} what felt like a never ending sink of sippy cups I was reminded once again how incredibly lucky I am to be a Mommy.

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“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”

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