Bentley and Aria are officially a week old! It has been quite eventful, and each day they make amazing progress. The nurses and neonatologists here at St. Alphonsus hospital like to manage our expectations and won't hint at when they could be coming home, but my hope is that if they continue on at this rate they will be home within a week or two.
This week Aria went off oxygen, and both twins got off the IV's. They still have on heart and respiratory monitors, although I am happy to report they have not had any apnea or heart issues. Aria had a billirubin level of 12.5, and I'm not sure what Bentley's was, but they both spent nearly a day under lights and are now much pinker. They are both still in the incubators. The doctor indicated that they have the body fat to be in cribs, so the nurses are trying to wean them off the incubators by dressing them very warmly and lowering the temperatures bit by bit.
Feeding is going very well. From the first practice feedings when both were able to latch on till today, much progress has been noted. Each day they are stronger and last longer at breastfeeding. Bentley has an awesome latch and Aria is getting better day by day. Both are also taking some feedings by bottle. A nurse explained that if we waited until they got all their nutrition from breastfeeding they would be in the NICU for a very long time. So as of today, they get about 50% of their milk (I pump and bring in the expressed milk each day) from a bottle and 50% from the feeding tubes. Of course, they get some with breastfeeding too, and they just adjust down the tube feedings depending on how well they did at the breast.
In order to come home, a preemie baby needs to be regulating their own temperature (getting close!), be gaining weight (check! Bentley is now 5 lbs and Aria is nearly back to birthweight at 4 lbs 13.7 oz), and be feeding well (halfway there).
Cadence is loving spending time with Grammy, although she wants to meet the babies very much. Age 6 and under are banned from the NICU during cold/flu season, so we bring her videos and pictures. Each time my Mom drops me off at the hospital, Cadence exclaims "Babies, babies! Hi, babies!" She also helps me with pumping and putting milk into the fridge for the babies. I know she will be a great big sister!
I am very proud of the babies for their excellent progress this week and hope they continue so we can have them home soon! Things like this really bring a family together and remind one what is truly important in life.