Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tummy Trouble Update

We took our girls to Dallas yesterday to meet with the Pediatric Gastroenterologist. First of all, let me say, this doctor was amazing! Probably the sweetest pediatric specialist I've ever come in contact with. He was patient, thorough, and really easy to talk to. I'm usually a nervous wreck when I have to talk to doctors, I don't know why but they really intimidate me, but I didn't feel nervous around this doctor.
So, this is what we found out.... He told us pretty much the same thing we've been hearing for the past year, they are premature and it's just going to take time. He thinks the problem may be volume intake so he made adjustments to how much the girls are taking each feed. With Mia, she's getting a smaller volume each feed, but we will make up the lost calories at night. He said Tessa is growing great (she's now 19lb 1oz!!!), so he is leaving her volume as is and prescribed a medicine to help make her hungry. Gracie is doing the best when it comes to taking a bottle, so he lowered her volume just a little to, hopefully, make her hungry. It must have worked, because she took her whole noon feed through the bottle and didn't have to use the g-tube!!!! (I love progress!!!) Finally, Rayleigh, he is leaving her volume the same and putting her on the same medicine as Tessa. He also wants us to start seeing a Dietician for the babies.

I am hopeful these changes will work and the girls will stop vomiting so much and start wanting to take their bottles. The doctor told us we're not running a marathon, we're running a triathlon. This is (probably) going to be a very long process. I really hated to hear that part, but that's just the way life goes with premature babies (or so is true for ours). All-in-all, it was a great visit and we're going to use this new plan until June and then we'll go back for a follow-up and he'll reevaluate.

We want to thank all our family, friends, and everyone who is following us for the love, prayers, and support. Prayers really work, and if you ever doubt that, just take a look at my 6 kiddos. I had so many people praying for both my pregnancies (Brady & the quints) and now I get to spend my days loving on these precious little angels. Please keep those prayers coming!!!

**Oh, and another firsts for the girls, after the appointment, we took them to eat at a restaurant for the first time!! They did so good! Rayleigh actually feel asleep at the table, Gracie watched movies on Steven's iPhone, Tessa ate rice off Daddy's plate, and Mia entertained the people at the table beside us. :)   Of course, we had people staring at us and I could hear them calling the girls quads. I didn't want to shock them even more with the fact that they're actually quints plus there's a big brother!   ;)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tummy Troubles - Praying for Answers

My quints were born at 29 weeks 1 day gestation (11 weeks early). Life in the NICU was tough and it was a long process. The effects of prematurity are hard on a baby and many of them deal with being born early for a long time, maybe a lifetime. To have five 29 weekers; my quints did amazing considering the circumstances. However, all four of my girls had and still have feeding issues. They have problems aspirating the milk into their lungs during feeds. They also have bad reflux, which means they vomit, a lot. And, they have aversions to the bottle. All four girls came home with a g-tube to help with their feeds. They are almost 13 months old and they still have the g-tubes and we use them with every feed. I was hoping that, by now, they would have the tubes out and eating on their own, but that's not the case.

I've been taking this process day-by-day, trying to not push too hard, but enough is enough. I feel that they should be eating, like normal, by now, but they aren't and it's very frustrating. I have no medical background, and I really feel like I have no idea what to do to help them get better. So, I contacted our Dallas pediatrician and asked him what we should do, and he referred us to a GI specialist. I hope and pray that the GI doc can figure out what's going on and help our girls out.

I don't share a lot of information about my kid's health issues because I think some things should be kept private. But I'm telling you this because I'm asking you to pray that this new doctor will have the answers. Pray for us traveling to Dallas to see this doctor. And please pray that the girls' feeding issues will be resolved soon!
Praying for our little sweethearts!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Gift From My Heart: Birthday Books

It's pretty evident that my kids are my world. I dreamed all my life about being a mom. Then, when I decided it was the "right time" to have kids, things didn't go the way I planned. The experiences of my first three miscarriages devastated me. For the first time in my life, I was heartbroken. Finally, on March 15, 2012, God blessed me with the baby that I had prayed so diligently for, day after day. Brady was my wish come true, the "yes" to all those prayers.

When Brady was 15 months old, we decided it was time to try to give him a sibling. Unfortunately, the answer was no, again. So, Steven and I decided, we'd try one.last.time to have another baby. And when I say, one last time, I'm serious. Whether the outcome was good or bad, this was it. I was not going to put myself through anymore heartache. If God wanted us to have another baby, he'd give us one, if not, then we were going to be happy as a family of three. So, I prayed really hard that God would give us one more blessing, and low & behold, He gave us FIVE!!!! lol   Our quints arrived on March 18, 2014, just three days after Brady turned two, so in a span of 2 years and 3 days, I gave birth to 6 kids! :)   Talk about the shock of a lifetime!

It's such a honor to be Brady, Mia, Tessa, Brant, Gracie, and Rayleigh's mama. I want them to always know how much I love them and what a blessing they are to my life, so I'm doing something special for them each year on their birthday, and I thought I'd share this idea with you! My sister gave me this idea from something she's doing for my nephew. She bought the book, Oh the Places You Will Go, and each year, she gives the book to Gavin's school teacher to write a note to him. When he graduates, she will give him the book as a graduation gift and it will have been signed by all his teachers throughout his childhood. I love that idea, and I plan on doing the same thing for my six kiddos.

I was walking down the book isle in Target a couple of months ago and saw the book, If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond. It caught my eye, so I picked it up and read it. I fell in love with the book, it made me think of my quints. I don't know why, but it's so hard for me to see the babies grow up so fast. I'm so thankful they're healthy and growing and meeting milestones....I just wish I could slow the process down because it's going way too fast. So, I decided to take my sister's idea with the book and I'm putting my own twist to it... I bought 5 copies of the book, If I Could Keep You Little, and each year on the quint's birthday, I write a message to them. When they turn 18, I'll give them the book and it will have little notes from me each year of their life.

Well, I will never leave my Brady out of anything, so I started thinking about what to do for him. I had already missed two years of writing to him in a book, but I decided I wasn't going to worry about that, he was going to have a book too, but one that was different from the quints. I found another book by the same author, called You Are My Wish Come True. I immediately knew it was the perfect book for Brady. So, I started, this year, writing to him in his birthday book.

I'm sharing this with you because maybe some of you are sentimental like me and would like to do something special for your little one too. It's cheap and easy to keep up with and it's something they will always be able to keep. And I ask that if you have any great ideas on a special project you're doing for your kiddos, please share with me. I love hearing from other mamas. :)
For my sweet Brady Boo!   :)
For Mia, Tessa, Brant, Gracie, & Rayleigh!   :)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Birthday Party: Food & Decorations

Let me tell you, Pinterest can either be your best friend or your worst enemy, but no mater what you think about it, you can always find lots of great ideas. I love Pinterest. I'm not creative, at all, so I go on Pinterest and I can get so many ideas to use for whatever occasion. So, here's my disclaimer; none of these ideas are mine. Go to Pinterest and type in Mickey Mouse birthday party and you can find all these ideas.  :)
Our color scheme was black, red, and yellow. I got my ideas from Pinterest and made (with the help of some friends) all the decorations. Homemade decorations are so much cheaper; plus I kept everything so I can reuse in the future. The setting was our back porch. It had rained all week long so the ground was wet. We had rented a bounce house but cancelled a few days before the party because our backyard was a swamp. Even though the ground was wet, the weather was perfect for an outside party. I love that my kids have springtime birthdays so it's not too hot or too cold (usually).

I did this for Brady's first birthday a decorated table or highchair.
The party was at 2pm on Sunday afternoon, so I knew I didn't need a lot of food (people ate lunch after church before coming over). 

Six smash cake for six sweethearts! :)
I know 3 year olds typically don't do smash cakes, but I couldn't leave Brady out. He enjoyed having his own cake.

I made a 7 Layered Dip and put the olives in the shape of a Mickey head.

A friend of mine from church makes cakes, I gave her a picture of this cake (that I found on Pinterest) and she did a fantastic job of making the same cake... Best part, the cake was delicious!!

I thought about having Steven grill hot dogs, but after some consideration, we decided pigs-in-a-blanket would be much easier and economical.

Pluto's Punch
Each kid had his/her own head to showcase how much they've changed over the year. 

 All about the kids. My friend McCall made these boards for me and I think they are such a sweet reminder of the milestones the kids had reached by this point in their lives.

 I bought scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby (1 for each kid - blue for boys and pink for girls). Eventually I'm going to start scrapbooking for the quints and when I do these pages will go in the book so they can always remember who was at their birthday party.
Brady's picture from his first birthday.

Pictures of me and Steven at our first birthday parties. It's a tradition to have these out for my kids 1st birthday party (I did it for Brady's 1st birthday too).

I ordered these Mickey head balloons online (a package of 6). By the time the party started, there were only 4 left. 
Mickey heads were very easy to make. Just buy styrofoam balls and paint them black, use toothpicks to stick the ears on. I used decretive straws for the stick part. We painted the clay pots.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Quints- 12 Month Pics & Brady 3 Years

So this is our last month to take monthly pictures! Woohoo! I'm still amazed they are already 1 year old and Brady is 3!!!! It seriously doesn't seem possible. This past year has been crazy, to say the least, but I'm really looking forward to this new year of their life. I'm expecting this year to be just a crazy as last year, but in a totally new way. I'm excited about this upcoming year.

The quints are all cutting more teeth. It seems like every day we're finding a new tooth in someone's mouth. They are all babbling more and more each day. They enjoy being outside; we've been taking walks through the neighborhood on pretty days, and let me tell ya, it's been so nice to get out and enjoy some fresh air. It's good for them and it's really good for me! For the past 15 months, I've been locked inside, whether it be bed rest, or in the NICU, or in the house with the babies, it's been a long time since I've really been able to enjoy the great outdoors.

These six kids are our life. They bring us so much love and happiness. God has truly blessed us X's 6!

Mia Danielle
Quint A
1 Year Stats:
Weight: 16lb 8.5oz (5%)
Length: 28 in (10%)
She's healthy and happy!

Tessa Suzanne
Quint B
1 Year Stats:
Weight: 18lb 10.5oz (30%)
Length: 28 in (20%)
She's our biggest baby and so sweet!

Brant Lee
Quint C
1 Year Stats:
Weight: 18lb 6oz (5%)
Length: 30 in (50%)
He's funny and full of energy!

Gracie Lou
Quint D
1 Year Stats:
Weight: 17lb 11.5oz (15%)
Length: 28.5 in (20%)
She's funny and likes things her way!

Rayleigh Ann
Quint E
1 Year Stats:
Weight: 17lb 9.5oz (15%)
Length: 27 in (5%)
She's a mama's girl and loves to smile!

Brady James
Our first born & best big brother in the world!
3 Year Stats:
Weight: 29lb (20%)
Length: 37 in (35%)
He's funny, a ball full of energy, and smart as a whip!

The sisters :)    (left to righ: R,M.T,G)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter 2015

This Easter is probably the most special Easter of all, for us. We celebrated as a family of 8! Our quints were a few weeks old last Easter and were in the NICU. Last year, I came home and celebrated with Brady then left and drove back to Dallas to visit the quints in the NICU. It was tough to be torn between my kids (Brady back home and the quints in Dallas). We got through it and God has brought us to this year. Because the quints were premature (29 weekers) we have kept them away from crowds, in hopes to keep them healthy. Now that RSV season is almost over, we decided to take the babies to church for the first time Sunday. It was so wonderful to have all of us at church together. Usually, Steven and I take turns going to church on Sunday mornings and my stepmom comes on Sunday and Wednesday nights and lets us go together. The babies did so good at church. Gracie got a little loud and had to be taken out, but she finally feel asleep. By the time church was over, all 4 girls were asleep. Our church family was wonderful and respected our wishes to not touch the babies. I'm praying the quints stay healthy and we can take them to church every Sunday.
Six little Easter basket. :)







My peeps!




The quints in Sunday School class for the first time.

Saturday, we celebrated Easter with our family. We knew that the babies would be exhausted from going to church, so we decided not to go anywhere after church. So on Saturday we had our families come over for an Easter Egg Hunt and desserts. The day was sunny and beautiful (Sunday turned out to be rainy and cold so I'm glad we did everything Saturday). We hunted eggs and just enjoyed being together as a family.

I made a carrot cake.

The dessert table

Papa Berney & Rayleigh
Brady is Mr. Serious

The big kids drove around on the golf cart.

Grandma & Mia

Gracie ready to take a swing at the piñata!

Gracie & Mia checking out the piñata.

Gavin did most of the work on the piñata.

Then Brady finished it off.

Fighting for candy.

Lined up & ready to hunt some eggs. 
Brady was off, but didn't find eggs...I guess he didn't understand the concept of hunting for eggs.
Of course, I had to decorate the house for Easter, so here's a peek around our house.
6 little bunnies & light up eggs  :)

If you have read my blog long, you know I'm obsessed with my kids hand/foot prints.  I'm so  in love with these bunnies and their carrots (Had to make 2 bunnies to accommodate all 6 kids). :)

What's Easter without pastel M&M's?!?! And of course, you're not a Southerner unless you have some  Mason jars around the house. ;)
For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not parish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16

I can't thank God enough for blessing us with our family. God is so great!