Friday, June 29, 2007

Typical Day

Some of you may have noticed some salty language in the previous posts. For the record, those are coming from Chris. His penchant for accurate and non-repetitive descriptions sometimes gets the better of him. :-)

One thing we haven't really commented on is a typical day for all of us. My mom jokes each night that she will see us tomorrow "same time-same place-same routine". This is really true -- in only 4 days, we are very closely tied to our schedule. It shifts and changes in small amounts each day, but overall is fairly consistent. If you want to see Chris' work of art in Excel, it can be viewed and appreciated at:

As you can see, we pretty much revolve around feedings and pumpings. We have big feedings 8 times each day -- every 3 hours. The boys are still learning to master breastfeeding, so each of these feedings is followed up with breastmilk in a bottle. Thus, breastfeedings take 1-1.5 hours. Bottle feedings take about 45 minutes - 1.5 hours depending on how many people are involved. Kathy pumps after each feeding and occasionally in between to maintain and increase her milk supply. She has also started "free-feeding" the babies as desired during the afternoon and evening. The boys are still small and figuring out "suck-swallow-breathe", but they now seem to have the hang of it 75% of the time. We are now waiting for their stamina to increase (something that will develop naturally with time and maturity.) In the next 4-6 weeks, we anticipate they will have the strength for total breastfeeding. (Although we may reserve the bottles and expressed breastmilk to give Kathy the option of 3-4 hours of sleep a few times each week.)

Currently we breastfeed the boys individually at most feedings. Wednesday we made our first attempt at tandem breastfeeding both boys at once. It was a surprising success! We didn't really anticipate that both boys would be able to latch on without the assistance of extra hands, but they did surprisingly well. We won't post photos of this, but if you are interested in seeing how this works -- or seeing a HUGE grin on Kathy's face, let us know and we'll send them to you!

Well -- feeding time at the zoo is upon us! Look for more info in the future!


In case you tried to post a comment to the blog and could not, we just realized we had some funky restriction saying that you have to be a register blogger to post comments. Well we changed that so feel to comment if you so choose.

We Scared The Crap Out of Gabriel!

Its amazing how your priorities change after having babies. Instead of thinking about if the Red Sox won last night or what's on TV tonight, you think how long has it been since your baby last pooped. Just one of the many wierd things that we think about these days.

Speaking of pooping, Gabriel hasn't dropped a deuce since we got back from the hospital last Sunday. I know how I feel after going that long so you can imagine how he feels! We discussed this at our first pediatrician's appointment on Wednesday and he said we could wait until today before we should try a dreaded..........suppository. Nobody wants that!! Well we waited, and waited, and waited, and nothing. I blame myself for this problem. I was the one who told him last Saturday, after the doctor said both boys could go home if Gabe gains weight that night, that if he had to lay some cable to hold it until they weigh him. Well I guess he really did. I tried to explain that its okay now and that he can go but still nothing. So this afternoon I went to the pharmacy and got the dreaded suppository. As we took it out of the package, everyone's reponse was the same "Holy cow that's huge!" How is that going to fit in there? Well we brought Gabe over to the chaging table, ready to violate him when we discovered he decided to go on his own. We think seeing the size of that suppository scared the poop right out of him. See, wierd priorities, right?

So everything went well at their first doctors visit. The doc said that they both looked great in all regards. They even put on a few ounces since leaving the hospital which is good too. We ran into a mom with two twins a few months old that were on their way out the door. She was all smiles when she saw our twins and wished us congratulations. As she was leaving, she turned back to us with a very serious expressions and whispered as she left "The first two months are HELL." Yay! This has actually been a common warning we've heard from other twin parents. So far its been pretty hard but not least not yet.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Have we cursed Elias?

Is Elias that unusual of a name that people will always have a hard time pronouncing it for the rest of his life? We didn't think so but the nurses in the hospital and folks at work definitely seem to have a hard time. At the hospital, he was called by various nurses the following: "Ellis", "Elliot", "Isiah", "Tabias", and "Eliza" (yes even Eliza!) but most would just slowly say "Ellllllllllliiiiii.........." and wait for us to pronounce it. Sometimes I wasn't sure if they were saying his naming or doing their E.T. impersonation.

What do you think?

You be the judge...

So the big question around the Goddard House these days is, "Are they identical?" We each have our own theories and answers and they change for each of us every day. When they were born, the size difference made it very easy to tell them apart, but as that gap has closed and both boys are more active, it is much harder to make a definite decision. Their foreheads are now similarly sized and as Gabe's cheeks fill out, his eyes seem to be positioned just like his brother's. All our previous cues seem to be disappearing!

I'm embarassed to say that we have had a number of moments where we have gotten them confused with one another. (So much for mother's insinct!) Fortunately they are still wearing their ankle bracelets from the hospital -- so we have a double-check in place. Also, Ninah seems to be able to tell them apart consistently, so there is hope for mom and dad yet.

The plan for today is to give a bath this afternoon or tomorrow and remove the bracelets. At that time, we are planning to do a little nail-polish on Gabe as a reference point (a masculine color, of course). :-)

If you want to weigh in with your thoughts on whether or not Gabriel and Elias are identical, drop us a line! If they continue to look similar, we may never know for sure. The only way to know for sure is to rule out monozygocity (through different blood types, appearance, etc.) or to do a genetic test. DNA testing seems expensive and unnecessary, so we won't be going down that road unless medically necessary and thus far we have been uable to rule out the possibility that they are identical.

Either way, it is fun to have a Scooby-Doo style mystery to grapple with everyday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


So we are pleased to announce that we have survived the first 72 hours! (Horray)

We are doing better than we expected to be at this point. The only saving grace of bringing babies home after a long stay in the NICU is that they are on a very rigid schedule and are comfortable with it. The boys eat one after the other every 3 hours all day and evening. Because they are premies, we were advised not to let them wake us up, but to wake them for feedings if necessary -- at least until they are full-term, if not a little longer.

So before leaving the hospital, we laid out a tentative schedule (in Excel!) that allowed us both to get at least one 4 hour block of sleep each day -- even if it was just the two of us at home. And of course, things are far better than this because we have the boys' Ninah (Kathy's Mom) here for support. She makes sure we are eating, that there is laundry, etc. and helps with all the daytime feedings. She is an exceptionally willing and able baby-holder/changer/feeder/singer/etc.

Today the boys went for their first ride in their swings. We think they're still a little too small for the swings but we did manage to squeeze off some adorable pictures:

Elias in his Swing
Gabe in his Swing


The new blog!

Check it out. The boys enjoyed bloggin their adventures in the hospital so much that they decided to continue their online journal from home. We've imported the old posts from their CarePage to the new blog but if you're interested in seeing the old page with comments from family and friends and some old photos, you can still check it out here:

We'll be posing to the new blow site exclusively now!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

HoHum... What can we say has been happening with the Goddard boys? Is today just another day of who-got-what-hospital-test or random-nurse-roulette? When you get in a rut, it can sometimes be hard to think of things to update. I'm a bit stuck thinking about what we could say as I sit here... AT HOME!!!

That's right! I am writing this message from our home in Cool. Both boys are in the crib across from me sleeping after their evening meal. WOW!!! SOOO MUCH HAS HAPPENED since our last update. Here's the story in a nutshell.

Friday we had a big surprise. When Kathy walked into the nursery Friday morning, who should she see in a carseat, but GABRIEL. He had already finished his carseat challenge and was just hangin' out -- chillin' and showing his brother that the carseat isn't so bad afterall. Later that day, the neonatologist told Kathy that he would be off for two days, but he didn't think he would see us when he returned on Monday. We were so surprised because only 3 days earlier, he had told us we should expect a minimum of 7 more days for Gabe.

Saturday, Elias promptly passed his carseat challenge without any problems -- confirming the hypothesis that he was waiting for his brother so they could leave together. Later on Saturday, the neonatologist doing rounds said that the boys could go home on Sunday, _if_ Gabriel maintained or gained weight that night. (It was his second day on breastmilk alone -- no calorie fortifier added.) We were so on edge that we tried to stay away from the nursery as much as possible. We wanted them to rest and get big. Chris exhorted Gabriel to "think heavy" and "if you have to go to the bathroom, hold it until _after_ we put you on the scale." Apparently it worked. Gabe had a modest gain of about an ounce last night.

This morning, we checked out of the Sharing Place, loaded the car to the gills, dressed up the babies in non-hospital gear and headed home to Cool! It is amazing to have them HOME.

Ninah did a great job of tiring out the dogs prior to our arrival, so having the girls meet the boys was very easy. So far, we are all coexisting pleasantly. Sassy could care less about what is happening as long as she can go back to following Chris around the house. Ruby is interested, but listening very well. She sits to see the boys and doesn't do more than sniff or give a quick lick on the head.

The boys are alert and seem unruffled by the transition from the NICU to our quiet house in the country. They ate a big meal and are resting until the next one. We are just so happy and amazed to be home after such a long, difficult haul. Twenty two days is too long to be in the hospital -- and it is 21 days too long to be separated from your babies after carrying them for months.

Thank you once again to everyone for all the help, support, good wishes, prayers, and gifts. We have appreciated them more than we could ever express. For now we will keep updating this page on the boys, but will likely switch out for a different medium at some point in the future. Also, be on the look out for Cam-Frog meet and greet time with Elias and Gabe! They are used to the flash of cameras everywhere they go -- It is time for the silver-screen!

Friday, June 22, 2007

We know the world has been waiting on pins and needles for the results of Elias' most recent carseat challenge. We so appreciate all the warm wishes, prayers, and half-time-show cheers for the all the boys accomplishments! Unfortunately, Elias still wasn't quite ready for his carseat experience. This time he made it 15 minutes longer without any problems, so even though it wasn't a complete success, we can still see so much development and increasing strength each day! He has been rescheduled for his challenge on Saturday.

And...don't tell the Olympic committee judges, but...We decided to help him cheat a little... Due to the distance we have to travel to get home -- and then from home to the pediatrician's office, we were getting a little gun shy (or should I say car-shy) about using traditional seats with them. So Chris went ahead and ordered car beds for the boys. These are seats that are created for premie babies and keep them in a horizontal position. In a carbed, the boys are almost guaranteed to pass with flying colors since they spend most of their day doing intensive "training" in a horizontal position. :-)

In other news we have had other huge celebrations here. First, both boys are now over 4lbs. Gabriel is rapidly closing the weight gap with his younger brother -- they are now within 6 oz of each other! Also, today Gabriel's feeding tube was removed. We are trying to 100% bottle/breast feed him beginning today. WOW! He breastfed during 2 feedings today and I just gave him a bottle that he took in less than 20 minutes. These are pretty significant accomplishments for a little guy who was doing 2/3 tube feedings 3 days ago. Elias is adding a 4th breastfeeding each day (hence Kathy posting at 3am). He is turning into a voracious breastfeeder and his doctor is confident we will be able to get him to 100% breastfeeding within 2-4 weeks of his due date.

Other than that, mom and dad are doing well -- getting excited and eager to take them home in the next week or so! Thanks so much to everyone for their prayers, love, kind wishes, and good vibes. They mean so much to us! We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Well -- the countdown continues! The neonatologist told us today that Elias is destined for home soon. _If_ he passes his carseat challenge tomorrow morning, he will most likely be discharged Thursday. WOW. Chris bought a special carseat head rest for smaller babies with the hope that it will give him an edge. Please cheer him on tomorrow!

Gabriel is taking his time to mature right now. The Doctor anticipates that he will need another week before coming home.

So...we may soon be home with these boys starting the real adventure!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Today was very eventful for the boys. Mom brought in special clothes for them to wear -- little onsies and shorts that said "Daddy's #1 Team" on them in Red Sox colors. (Thanks Aunt Diana!!! They are awesome!) We had our morning feeding and then Jennifer, one of our primary nurses, ushered us through our first bath (yeah!). It was so much fun. Kathy was sure they would hate it and worried about them crying the whole time, but both boys seemed to really enjoy their tub time. They liked the warm water and only cried briefly when they had to come out. We even shampooed their hair in the sink ala the salon! What a terrific spa day!

We then held a brief "I'm so clean & cute" photo shoot with dad on his special day. After such a busy morning, the boys took the afternoon off for sleeping and weight gain and we went to a movie. :-) It was probably our last movie for a year or so, so we relished the time.

We are also beginning to hear the first murmurings about the boys going home. Gabriel has increased his breast/bottle feedings back to ever other feeding time. Elias is now over 4 lbs and breast/bottle feeding all his meals. These are the big criteria to go home! Today he had a "Carseat Challenge". Apparently car travel is the equivalent of an extreme sport for premie babies. Before they are allowed to leave the hospital, they must be able to sit in their seats for at least an hour without any trouble. Elias made a valient effort today -- and seemed to enjoy the seat, but after about 1/2 an hour he couldn't keep his head in the right position and his oxygen level began to decrease. seems he will need a bit more time at the hospital afterall. This is obviously disappointing for us, but at the same time, we feel strongly that we don't want them to come home until they are ready (and we would hate to be driving through the canyon and have something happen!) Also, we do not want to separate them if we can avoid it. Kathy's theory is that Elias threw the game today to give Gabriel a chance to catch up. We shall see! Elias is re-scheduled for his carseat challenge on Wednesday. Please keep your fingers crossed for him!
Just a quick update tonight -- the big event today is the removal of Elias' feeding tube. He is now expected to breast/bottle-feed at all mealtimes! (That's 8 times a day when you're a baby...) :-) Elias is proving to be a feeding champ -- generally eager to eat and enjoy.

Gabriel isn't quite as enthusiastic as his brother, but is staying even. Babies are healthy and that's what counts.

Oh! And two more sets of twins moved into their room this week. We now have 4 sets of twins in one Special Care Nursery room. It is fun to talk with all the moms. We have also seen "full-term" triplets and shared a room with quadruplets. We are meeting lots of special parents and nurses and beginning to feel like we are part of a community. It is nice!

Okay -- time to get some rest!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Well another good day at the nursery. Both boys gained a lot of weight today - Gabe is up to 3 lbs, 8.1 ozs and Elias is up to 3 lbs, 15.7 ounces (that's only 0.3 ounces from the big 4 lbs!). Today was Elias's first full day with no feeding tube and he did great - he was able to take every feeding with a bottle or breastfeeding with no problems. Gabe has been a little slower with the feeding so after two days of rest and less bottle feeding, he seems to be much more awake and interested in feeding. I think that was his way of saying that the feeding schedule was a little too much for him. Both are moving a little bit more (babysteps?) towards going home everyday. We're trying not to get our hopes but it's really hard not to.

Also they've already learned to share - today they shared an eye infection. After a little ointment, they both seem to be clearing up. That's it for now, we're going to go home for the first time this week and check on our other babies, Sassy and Ruby. Its so hard having your family all spread out across the city!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wow -- just two days and so much has happened. Both Elias and Gabriel continue to do well. They are both gaining weight (Gabriel is now heavier than his birth-weight!) Elias is doing exceptionally well with breastfeeding and seems eager to get started each session. Gabriel is a little more pokey and is taking his time getting the hang of breast/bottle feedings. Both boys love being held and rocked and continue to be a joy to watch.

We are also extremely pleased to have found primary nurses for both the day and evening shifts. Up to this point, the boys have had a different nurse every 8-12 hours. Each nurse has her or his own set of expectations and way of doing things. This can be a little overwhelming for mom and dad. SSSSOOOO...This week we were waiting to find primary nurses who make a personal commitment to spend all their shifts with our babies. We are very pleased to have Tiffany on board as a primary in the evening and Jennifer as a day primary beginning this weekend. They are both wonderful, loving, and supportive women. Just what the boys (and Chris & Kathy) need during this special time.

The other big change in the last few days is our residence! We are now staying at The Sharing Place -- located in the parking lot of Sutter Memorial. This has been a fabulous change for us, since we are now so much closer to the boys. Kathy is able to spend more time there just being with the boys (rather than running all the time just to keep up with feedings) AND she can rest in bed in between feedings as needed. Chris is closer to work and can check on the boys before he goes in in the morning -- and can be with them as long as he wants at night. It has been a dream come true for us. We don't have much internet access though, so posting pictures may be more infrequent!

Other than that, we are learning that life in the NICU is an exercise in patience and living in the immediate moment. We try not to dwell on when the boys will come home -- but only to wait for them to develop in their own time and come home when they are ready.

Finally, we are so excited to welcome the boys' newest cousin, Sarah Christine Goddard. She may be 11 days younger than Elias & Gabriel, but she already outweighs the two of them combined!! Congratulations to Scott, Joanna, Nathan, Andrew & Timothy from all the west coast Goddards! We can't wait to get all our newest additions together!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Whoo-Hoo! Today we move into "The Sharing Place" -- a residential facility in the parking lot of the hospital. Yesterday, Chris and I went in for only 2 feedings with Elias and Gabriel so that we would have time to pack for the move. Between pumping and getting back and forth, we are getting really used to late-late nights and early-early mornings -- even when we are away from them. We are trying hard to take advantage of the time to get a little rest, but it is very difficult when all you want is to take your babies home!

Chris returns to work today. He is set with pictures and a relatively good night's sleep. Kathy will be taking an infant CPR class this afternoon and hopefully one of us will be able to make our Sharing Place check-in Meeting on time.

Elias and Gabe continue to do well. They have continued to gain weight a little at a time. Elias is a breastfeeding fiend and seems to have no trouble regardless of when you feed him. Gabe is getting the hang of it a bit more slowly and occasionally decides that the breast is a pretty warm, cozy place to snooze rather than eat. :-) but even on these days he will take a hi-flow nipple on a bottle with

no problem. Both remain amazing miracles for us. Chris and I are both enchanted with them. We wanted to say thank you again for all the kind wishes, prayers, cards and gifts. It is wonderful to get your messages of love and support during this time. It really means more to us than we can say to know there is a whole world outside of the Special Care Nursery who know and love Gabriel and Elias - and are sharing in their progress with us. Whoo-Hoo -- now I need to finish packing!!! :-)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Everyday we are thankful for the boys progress. This morning, they moved to a "big-boy" crib. This means they are in an open crib like any other. In developmental terms, it means they are able to monitor their own temperature and don't need a warmer any longer. Both boys also gained weight yesterday! We are waiting for this evening's weight on pins and needles. :-) It is like watching "Celebrity Fit Club" in reverse -- you always end the day with the big weigh-in. The boys also got a Naso-Gastric tube today. At first we felt a little disappointed -- it is a bummer to see a tube go into them after watching so many tubes come out... But the tube is actually a much better option. It takes away the need to insert and remove tubes when they need tubal feedings. It also takes some of the pressure off our breastfeeding practice. We can let them breast through an entire feeding and then decide at the end if we want to "top it off" with more milk in the tube -- or if they are done. No pressure to speed through and keep time for a bottle.

They are nipple feeding every-other feeding and starting Monday, we are hoping to make it exclusively breastfeeding on those feedings if they don't tire out!

Ninah spent most of the day with the boys. Each time Kathy had to go pump or go to an appointment, she held both boys together. This is such a joy because you can watch them smile and and cuddle and suck with each other right in your arms. Who needs a television when you have baby-vision!

And finally, Chris posted many more photos this morning. Some of my favorites are the incubator shot where it looks like they are on an airplane and Chris kangarooing with Elias. Something about a baby nestled in chest hair really makes my heart melt. :-)
WOW -- big event today! Gabriel (our little guy) started gaining weight after his post-birth slim-down. :-) The boys have to be over 4 lbs to come home, so this really means we are one step closer to coming home as a family.

Last night, we went to a parent social for the special care nursery. We met parents of babies who are in the NICU for a diverse range of reasons. Some babies had minor respiratory events at birth and are just checked in for observation. Others are there because they delivered at 25 weeks after having water ruptured at 17 weeks , weighed 1 lb at birth, had life-threatening illnesses, under-went extensive surgeries, etc. This was a difficult meeting to attend, but well worth it! The last week has been such an emotional/hormonal roller coaster; it was good to meet people going through something similar and realize we are not alone in our experience. We met a lot of very kind people and heard some really heart-wrenching stories. Most of all, we felt truely lucky that are boys are doing so well -- after all, Eli & Gabe are just small. Other than that, they are normal, happy, healthy babies.

Thanks again for all your help and support! We love hearing from you each day -- even when we don't have much time to respond. We are working on it though!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Yet another exciting day in the life of the Goddard Family. We are getting some serious breastfeeding practice in each day and both boys are doing very well with it. The boys are in all respects doing terrific! They are eating well, pooping well, & sleeping well. They really enjoy sharing their bed with each other and are often found sucking on one another's fingers or shoulders for comfort. Their nurse today decided to truely "cobed" them -- which means swaddling them together in the same blanket. They seemed to love this and cuddled like spoons for their entire morning nap. We are beginning to see personalities appear as well. Elias is a talker. He makes lots of little noises and faces - especially when he is full and swaddled. He will make noises right back at you when you engage him -- even while he seems to be asleep. Gabriel is consistently more alert than his brother -- eyes open wide watching everything going on around him. However, he is quiet and content most of the time. When he does get upset, his cry is very quiet and sounds like a kitten mewing. It is extremely cute! Right now, both boys are very calm (not cryers) and seem content to have each other's company.

Today was the first day where we had to travel in to the hospital to see the twins. It was a little emotional to then have to turn around and leave them again... Fortunately, we have reservations at a family-care house right next to the hospital starting Monday. (So Chris and Kathy will only be available via cell phone most of the time. Anna will be watching the dogs at the Cool house, so you can keep reaching her there.) Hopefully, Kathy will not explode waiting during the travel time to see them before Monday!!!!

We will keep posting photos as often as we can! Chris is becoming a master photographer with his favorite subjects. I think we could wall paper the house with the last 5 days worth of pictures. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Thanks to everyone on their kind thoughts and congratulations!

Well today Kathy was discharged from the hospital so we just arrived back home after being gone for a whole week. It was pretty emotional having to leave and not being able to take the little ones with us. We'll be visiting them everyday until we can bring them home - hopefully soon but not soon enough.

Today we made another huge step - both boys were able to breastfeed for the first time. The doctors said that they probably would not be able to nurse for another 2 to 3 weeks. But not our boys! They are hungry little men.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Every day keeps getting better for the Goddard twins. Today they were doing so well that they didn't need any more phototherapy and both their IVs came out. Two more steps towards coming home.

Both boys did some practice breastfeeding today. They're still trying to coordinate the whole suck-swallow-breath thing. Lots more Kangaroo care with Mom and Dad today with both boys and some quality time with their Ninah. To answer some of your questions, they are covered in little peach fuzz and both boys have dark blonde/light brown hair on their heads. Everyday they are looking more and more alike. Right now the only thing to tell them apart are thier little chins and Gabriel's forehead wrinkles.

Kathy should be discharged tomorrow morning so we should be able to get some pictures up here in the afternoon.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Another great day for the Goddard Boys. Both boys are in the same incubator together. When they are not getting lots of love, they are tanning under lights to help with jaundice. They get to "sunbathe" side by side wearing little purple sunglasses. :-) It looks like a little beach gathering.

We fed both boys today, did lots of Kangaroo care with each and they had a very special visitor -- their Ninah! (Kathy's mom) Ninah got to hold Gabriel this afternoon. She is looking forward to some quality time with both boys over the summer.

Keep your eyes open, we have a plan to try and get photos up tomorrow if possible!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The twins finally arrived yesterday morning. They were 8 weeks early and delivered via c-section. They are pretty tiny but are doing very well - breathing on their own, eating a little bit, and being exceptionally cute!

Kathy and babies are doing great today. The boys were moved into the same incubator this afternoon so the brothers can be together again. We were able to hold both of them today and Kathy fed Gabriel for the first time. Chris changed his first diaper and fed Elias yesterday. We'll post some pictures as soon as we can.