On the Launching Pad

When I arrived at the NICU today, one of the other NICU moms (I won’t name names!) said to me, “I didn’t see an update this morning…”

Ok, ok, I know. I didn’t post! For the first time since I started this blog I went for more than 24 hours without posting. But come on, people! I was grading exams, writing homeroom reports, getting ready to share our apartment with three teeny tiny people (and a host of helpers, I hope). It’s been busy! Anyway, I’ve got some updates from the last couple of days, so here’s your fix.

We THINK everybody’s coming home on Saturday. At this point, discharge summaries have been signed, doctors and nurses have already said goodbye to us, so we think it’s really happening. But after 64 days, I will believe it when I see it.



Weight: 5 lbs, 4.6 ounces

Vaccinations? Check!

Known for: Impressing the doctors and nurses with his fast feeds

New today: Henry had to give a bit more blood today. Just a follow-up on what we assume (hope) is a false positive on his newborn screening. He’s a trouper, but boy did he wail when he was pricked!



Weight: 6 lbs 0.2 ounces

Vaccinations? Check!

Known for: Hello?! Did you see how much he weighs?

New today: Again, see “weight”



Weight: 5 lbs 10.6 ounces

Vaccinations? Check!

Known for: Interrupting rounds with her hiccups. They are LOUD!

New today: Her eye exam revealed that she is Stage 2 Zone 2. Premature babies’ eyes are checked frequently for ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) which is when the blood vessels grow the wrong way, and it’s common in preemies because of the use of oxygen therapy. Sophie was barely on oxygen, so everyone’s a bit surprised that she might have aggressive blood vessel growth in her retinas, but we’ll follow up with the eye doctor next week. As out-patients!

Who’s that hiding under there?

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There. I posted. Are you happy? 🙂

Three Weeks Old!

The triplets are three weeks old today! (Well, yesterday, at this point, but I really can’t seem to get these posts up by midnight…sorry!)

Grammie came to visit, and she held Miss Sophie (still breathing happily all on her own) for the first time. See how peaceful she looks?

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So what’s happening at 3 weeks (31 weeks gestational age)?



Stats: 2 lbs, 10.2 ounces; feeding 11mL/hr every three hours (two hours on, one hour off)

Other updates: Cycling on the CPAP (12 hours on, 12 hours off). She has already done a 36 hour stint without any help breathing, during which she was saturating at 90-100% the whole time. The nurses think she probably doesn’t need the CPAP at all, but it’s earlier than they would usually remove it (32 weeks), so they don’t want to risk it too much. Tierney,  Sophie’s night nurse today and the one who admitted her to Beth Israel three weeks ago, cannot believe how alert Sophie is. She even took some photos of her a few nights ago because her behavior was so unusual for a 31-week-old. To quote Tierney, “She’s looking at me the way a three-year-old would. Saying, ‘Why aren’t you playing with me?'”

Another fun (phun!) fact (phact) about Tierney for all of you Georgetown alums–she was class of ’01 in the nursing school and a huge Phantom Phan! Small world…anyway, back to the babies. That is, after all, the point of this blog.

Sophie has been practicing her sucking with the pacifier, and she is a champ! It tires her out, but in the picture below, you can see just how eager she is to try. That’s Will’s hand presenting the pacifier, and Sophie is all over it!



All tuckered out




Stats: 2 lbs, 9.6 ounces, feeding 11mL/hr every three hours (two hours on, one hour off)

Other updates: Dr. Fourdjour decided Henry should have another blood transfusion today, with the hope being that this would help boost his oxygen levels and decrease his heart rate. For all of you medical folk out there, Henry’s hematocrit level was a bit low (31), and combined with his increasing need for oxygen (up to 33%, sometimes a bit higher), this indicates that a transfusion is in order. As scary as it sounds, he reminded us that it is an entirely normal aspect of a preemie’s journey during the first few weeks. In fact, he noted that the only thing that wasn’t normal was that the triplets haven’t needed more transfusions.


Pretty peaceful after the transfusion


Sticking his tongue out at Dad.



Stats: 2 lbs, 10.2 ounces, feeding 11mL/hr every three hours (two hours on, one hour off)

Other updates: Nothing really! Jack is our mellow fellow, going with the flow and just trying to keep up with his sister Sophie in weight gain. He is also taking some cues from her about this whole CPAP business. He seems to think that if he also pulls out his nasal cannula all the time, he will drive the nurses so nutty that they will just have to leave it out. So far, this strategy isn’t working.  Jack also has a tendency to present what we have now dubbed, “sympathy saturation problems.” Often, when Henry’s monitor starts ringing and flashing yellow because his oxygen saturation is dropping, the nurse will walk over to Henry’s bedside, only to find that Jack’s monitor starts ringing and flashing moments later. Sure, it could just be a coincidence, but I am suspicious.


Jack pulling a “Sophie.”



A few fun videos for your viewing pleasure:

Sophie with the hiccups (make sure your sound is on)

Henry, our little lizard

Jack, our mellow fellow









Equal Opportunity Kangaroo Care

Afternoon nap sessions

Because her brothers had been getting all of the attention the last two days, Sophie was first up on the docket for some snuggle time. When we arrived, however, all three Strumolo babies were getting ready for their one-week follow-up head sonograms, so their nurses, Judy (Henry) and Nancy (Sophie and Jack) worked out a plan so I might get to hold all three in succession while the ultrasound technician made her way from one baby to the next. Because Henry also needed a blood transfusion today, Judy decided he should go first before all the poking and prodding began.


Henry enjoying Kangaroo Care

Henry’s blood transfusion is very typical of babies this age. In fact, Dr. Fordjour mentioned on Wednesday that he was surprised none of the triplets had needed one yet. Henry had been looking a bit pale, and a check of his blood revealed that his red blood cell count was a bit low, so a transfusion was the remedy. Despite his squirmy demeanor, Henry was pretty much conked out for the entire procedure! If only I could have slept through the four times they tried to get my IV going in the hospital!


Meanwhile, Sophie was sound asleep, and very exasperated indeed. Jack, too, was enjoying his nap.





Jack was up next to be held while Sophie had her head sonogrammed, but he was snuggled in so deeply that we could get a good photo of his face! Finally, around 3:55 (all of this holding began around 1:45), it was Sophie’s turn. She was so content that it was difficult to put her back 45 minutes later, but all of this kangaroo care is a bit exhausting! You’d think just holding a teeny baby would require very little energy, but boy, was I tired. And hungry! So Sophie went to continue her nap in her isolette while we waited for Dad to arrive. I am so thankful to Judy and Nancy who were especially busy in the NICU today and still made time to arrange for Henry, Jack, AND Sophie to be held. While our three are a significant percentage of the 18 babies in the Beth Israel NICU, we realize they are not the only ones! Just the cutest ones, maybe. Just kidding. Sort of.

Later that evening…

Sophie sleeping soundly.


Jack waking up.


Henry, still snoozing and transfusing.