Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trick or Treat!

Sunday, November 2

Our cat (Devyn) and mouse (Kinley)!

Happy Halloween! What a fun weekend we had! Devyn and Kinley participated in their first Halloween traditions: first costumes, first trick-or-treating, and first pumpkin carving experience. Grandma Carol bought them their first costumes when she was here last week. I didn't think they would last 5 seconds with those hoods on, but surprisingly they didn't seem to mind at all!

They LOVED trick-or-treating, but not because of the candy. Devyn just loves to walk/run free, so it was all one big adventure to her. And Kinley just enjoyed being out and about, soaking up the sights. Our friends Will and Joelene came with too. I was a tad unprepared and didn't buy any candy buckets, so we had to improvise. Yes, that's Devyn trick-or-treating with a sand/beach bucket:-) 

 The first house....
The wrappers probably don't taste as good as the candy. 
Ridin' in style!
 "Where to next, guys?"  -Devyn
Pumpkin carving 
Mom had to do all the work!
We found a pumpkin big enough for them to fit in!

My favorite part of the weekend was the weather. We finally had temperatures that made it feel like fall! 
 I think someone wants to go outside...
OK, off to the park!
 We love to swing!
 It's a workout chasing this young lady around!
How rule-follower and my rule-breaker. 

Only took me 16 months...but I finally finished the girls' NICU keepsake boxes.

And one more pic just because I love it (and her):
I hope she enjoys doing dishes this much in about 10 years!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Big News!

Sunday, October 26

As most of you already know...the Marsh household has big news! We're pregnant. With twins. Again!!! Yes, I can still hardly believe it myself.
Our journey to parenthood was not easy. We spent years trying on our own with no success. We then spent another year or so working with my regular doctor trying out some "low-tech" medical options. Eventually, we ended up working with a fertility specialist to attempt in vitro fertilization. Our first round of in vitro was unsuccessful and completely devastating. We figured that was the end of the road, but our doctor convinced us to give it another try with a slightly different approach. Imagine our surprise when, not only did it work, but it worked almost too well! We ended up with our wonderful twin girls!

Well, if that was a surprise, there are no words to express how shocked we were to find out we were pregnant again. While undergoing fertility testing, we learned that we had almost no chance of conceiving naturally on our own. "Less than a 1% chance," was what the doctor told us. Well, either we hit the baby jackpot, or our doctor was seriously mistaken in his odds, because here they are!
Current Ages: 16 months (although these pictures are much older)
15 weeks (pictures taken at 9.5 weeks)
Due Date: April 18th
And just to be clear, we were absolutely NOT trying! Assuming we had basically no chance at conceiving on our own, this possibility was far from our minds. Even when I found out I was pregnant, it took me about a week to get over the shock and to wrap my head around the idea that we would have three children under the age of two.

After hearing a heartbeat in the doctor's office, Justin asked, "There's just one, right?" The nurse laughed and said, "Yes." When the doctor agreed to a quick ultrasound to confirm the gestational age of the baby, I think Justin and I were both just eager to make sure there was just one baby in there. As soon as the ultrasound tech said, "Surprise!" my heart stopped because I knew what she was going to say before she even said, "There are two in there!" I don't recall our exact reactions, but it's safe to say it was pure disbelief. So...make that FOUR children under the age of two. Lord help us!!!

Devyn Marie

Devyn is as wild as ever and constantly keeps us on our toes. She has learned how to climb, so everything from our couch to her activity table has become a jungle gym.

Devyn Fun Facts:
  • Weight: about 23 pounds
  • Teeth: 6
  • Favorite Hobbies: reading books, walking/running, climbing, destroying things, bath time
  • Dislikes: sitting still, sharing
  • Newest Skill: giving hugs
Kinley Grace

Kinley is doing great with her therapy! She has made a lot of progress over the past few weeks. She now opens her left hand on her own to play with toys and grasp things. The tightness in her left side has lessened allowing her more flexibility in moving. Although she can not get to a seated position by herself yet, her sitting is improving weekly. She practices crawling, kneeling, and standing in therapy and at home.

Kinley Fun Facts:
  • Weight: about 20 pounds
  • Teeth: 3
  • Favorite Hobbies: rolling, waving, watching the baby channel on TV, bath time
  • Dislikes: Devyn stealing her toys, loud noises 
  • Newest Skill: saying, "No"

Grandma Carol came for a visit last weekend. We took the girls to a pumpkin patch to try to get a few fall photos. It didn't exactly turn out as I had hoped. Devyn spent the entire time literally running around. She did not pause once to look at the train, the petting zoo animals, the rides or any of the other attractions. All she wanted to do was run!  I was so busy chasing her around, I didn't even realize we left the pumpkin patch without a single picture with Grandma!!! Ugh!
Fall Family Photo 
 Daddy and Kinley
We tried selling these two "Minis" to make room for the next two:-)

A few more photos:

 Devyn found her nose. Gross!
 Kinley wore herself out messing up the living room.
 A little love from Devyn instead of her usual torture (smacking, squishing, etc.).
 Kinley loves to sit up at her activity table!
 Devyn figured out the fastest way to get food into her mouth.
 Devyn playing in the splash pad. She loved it!
 She got a little wet. Poor Kinley didn't get to enjoy it much. I was too busy chasing Devyn around. Next time we'll bring Daddy so everybody can play.
"Can I help you, Mom?" -Kinley
Kinley gets lots of free rides, although they're a bit dangerous. Devyn runs her into a lot of walls!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On the Move!

Tuesday, September 2

It's official....summer is over. I'm back at work and all of our summer adventures are over. August flew by as we squeezed in as much as we could! A couple mini-vacations, a family visit, swimming, and more doctor's appointments kept us very busy.

Patient Devyn

Devyn has plenty of successes to share! First of all, she survived her first hospital visit (since our NICU days). She had a very minor surgical procedure done, and was in and out in just a few hours. She was so brave... not even a tear as I handed her off to the nurse. And much more exciting news....she is officially WALKING! She had been taking a few steps here and there for a few weeks, but on Friday she decided to take a stroll from the living room to the kitchen all by herself.

She still wears braces at night to straighten her legs and feet, which means that we still don't get to enjoy a night of peaceful sleep. Most people look at her and don't understand why she still wears them, as her feet look totally normal. Mostly it's just to make sure that her feet continue to grow straight instead of turning back in. Some children have to continue to wear braces until the age of 3. I pray she won't be wearing them that long!

Kinley's first haircut (the before picture)

Kinley's most exciting news was her first trip to the hair salon! We found a fantastic stylist who specializes in kids. What a fun place! Kinley got to sit in a race car and watch cartoons the whole time.
 Watching of her favorite hobbies!

 The only time she fussed was when she couldn't see the TV. 

All done! We can see her beautiful eyes again!

Kinley had an MRI done back in June to check on the status of her brain. While she was still in the NICU we learned that she had two very small bleeds on either side of her brain. Additionally, she developed PVL on the right side of her brain. Her neurologist says to think of it as a small scar caused by the trauma of premature birth. Her brain bleeds are now gone, having been reabsorbed, and have no lasting effect. The PVL, however, is irreversible. We were already aware of the effects the PVL is having on her. She has difficulty with the left side of her body, which has led to delayed development, specifically with gross motor skills (rolling, crawling, sitting, etc.).

At her neurology appointment to review her recent MRI, we learned that the PVL had grown slightly since her initial scan. Her neurologist said that she has no reason to believe it will continue to expand, but we cannot be certain. As there is no way to treat PVL, we instead treat the side effects. Kinley sees a physical therapist at least twice a week, and is now seeing an occupational therapist twice a month. These therapists work on teaching her body what it can and should do, as opposed to what her brain is telling it to do. We attend all of her appointments with her so that we can do the exercises with her at home as well.

The neurologist reported that the PVL should not affect her intellectual ability, which was the best news of the appointment. We have to be incredibly thankful for this and pray that it holds true, but it is very difficult to accept that she will probably face physical challenges for a long time, and possibly for life. Children with PVL also have an increased chance of developing cerebral palsy.

Even with difficult news, we know we have much to be thankful for. When I remember the fear we felt the morning they were born, I know many far worse scenarios crossed my mind.

On a more positive note, Kinley continues to make great progress in therapy. She rolls all over the place and can sit upright for short amounts of time if you help her get positioned. And although she greatly prefers her right hand, she will use her left without being forced. The simple fact that she is making progress is a good indicator for continued success.

    Our first trip to the river!

Dad had to make a trip to Laughlin to meet a client, so we turned it into a mini-getaway for the family. Our hotel had a beach right on the river, so the girls got to experience the Colorado River. It was a short trip to the beach because the water was so cold. The girls decided quickly that they liked the pool better!

Auntie Kim came back for another visit too! And what else do you do in the Las Vegas heat? Swim of course! 

 Kinley (above) Devyn (below)

And for one more final adventure before school began, we took a trip to Big Bear, CA with the Hinton family. It was supposed to be fishing/camping trip...but after some input from me, it turned into a 3-bedroom cabin/shopping trip! Oh yeah, they fished a little too!
Big Bear, CA

And a few pics I just couldn't leave out:
 "Who needs toys, when you have a rug to roll up in?!?!"  -Kinley

 Kinley's first lesson in pool. Oh yeah...our cabin had a pool table. We were roughing it!

 Cruisin' around the house.

Spaghetti was a hit!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Lovin'

Wednesday, July 30

I can't believe it's almost August! Where has our summer gone? The girls have been busy playing, eating, traveling, shopping, attending doctor's appointments, swimming, and just generally driving Mom crazy:-)

The biggest changes in our house lately have come from meal times. The girls have finally become fans of table foods. What a mess! It takes me as long to clean up their messes, as it does for them to eat. Their current favorite is macaroni and cheese. Devyn has decided that she's so grown up, she doesn't ever want to eat from a spoon again.
They love veggies (most days)! 
Devyn Marie is still our wild child! She is constantly moving. CONSTANTLY! It is amazing how quickly she can tear apart our living room. She rarely plays with toys, but rather takes them out, inspects them for a moment, throws them across the room, and then moves on to something else. Her favorite past times are: sneaking up the stairs when Mom and Dad don't close the baby gate properly, stealing her sister's toys, pushing her vehicles around the house, and bothering her sister. She is so close to won't be long! 
I designated a couple shelves in my kitchen cabinet just for Devyn. This isn't exactly what I had in mind.
I think she needs a jungle gym...

Kinley Grace is our sweet little angel. She loves to roll around and investigate her surroundings. She loves books and will look at them, or try to eat them, for long periods of time. She continues to go to physical therapy twice a week to work on building her muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. She is getting better at sitting up, but standing and walking are pretty far off in her future. She absolutely loves TV, especially her baby channel. I already have to limit her viewing time each day. She loves to sing and will chew on anything in sight.
Sweet, silly Kinley! Apparently she never wears clothes!
Love those baby blues and her sweet smile! 

Recently we took a road trip to Albuquerque to visit Grandma and Grandpa Marsh. We had so much fun! We squeezed in lots of great New Mexican food, shopping, swimming, visiting with friends, and even a trip to the zoo!
Devyn and a lizard
Visiting the polar bear
Kinley found a life-size Sophie (her favorite toy)!!!
Devyn and Grampy on the shuttle to the aquarium.
It was a long, hot day at the zoo!
A few other summer adventures:

Swimming on the 4th of July 
This is how we go get the mail!
Devyn enjoying her new water table.
After the girls' birthday party, when I was looking at old NICU photos, I noticed some of the pics of the girl's bath tubs while they were in the hospital. Since we still have the tubs, I thought it would be fun to take a more current photo with the girls. All I can say is, "Wow!" 
Above: Kinley at about 3 weeks old, weighing around 3 pounds.
Below: Kinley just after her first birthday, weighing around 17 pounds.

Above: Devyn at around 6 weeks old, weighing about 5 pounds.
Below: Devyn just over a year old, weighing around 20 pounds.
Can't believe how far these girls have come!