Day 2 of Christmas Cheer

And the models take their positions...

Liana giving you the "sweet eye"

Wade's mom got these blankets and had her sister put an "e" on the end of joy. So cute. They each have their own blanket.
I love Adleigh's pouty face. And yes, I purposefully tried to make their hair into mohawks.


Surgery Update and Day 1 of Christmas

So I tried to post a blog over the holidays, but it had a video in it and things would just not work!

After Liana's surgery it was a little rough. She cried a lot and we just chalked it up to she is recovering from her surgery and not liking a shunt being in her head. Well, it had been about a week since her surgery and she was still acting the same so I decided to call her neurosurgeon's office and told them how she was acting. They said it didn't seem normal and instead of bringing her back in 3 weeks for her scheduled appointment they wanted her to come in that day. We got another CT scan and they said everything looked normal. But her fontanel (soft spot) was still really sunken in and kind of hard so they decreased the rate of the fluid draining through her shunt. I feel like that has helped a ton! She still seems to get a little irritated, but a lot less crying (and by crying I mean the type of cry that makes you think she is horribly miserable and saying, "Mommy, please help me." Heartbreaking!)

One thing we have noticed is that she has taken a few steps back in her tummy time. She used to almost do a full push up and lift her head so high. She had rolled over totally to her surprise a few times too. But now she struggles to even lift her neck up. When I try to put her hands under her so she can push up she just lays her head down. Thankfully her physical therapist comes back on Tuesday (we had off this past week) so we will be drilling her on what we should do.

Finally, the girls had 4 days of Christmas cheer. We put on a new outfit starting Monday and leading up to Christmas and had some awesome photo shoots. Here is Day 1's hits.

Adleigh having fun.
Adleigh with a sweet smile.
Liana with a silent laugh.
My beautiful girls. Adleigh looks kinda weird.
If only you could see me and Grammy behind the camera. We were doing crazy dances, making baby squeals, and shaking toys. And for all that we get these faces.
Hope you enjoyed Day 1!

Hopefully now that crazy Christmas is over I will be able to do a little better on my early new year's resolution!!


The Surgery went well

We got home from the hospital yesterday. Liana's surgery went well. They had to put in a shunt to drain the cyst and fluid in the ventricle. She ended up having a pretty rough night at the hospital and wouldn't eat anything. She became dehydrated and had to be put on IV fluids. She still seems to be in a little pain. On top of all that, she has her reflux that makes her not feel so good. So overall, little Liana did really well, but just keep praying that she would recover completely and not be so irritated. Also, pray that we won't have any complications with her shunt...like infections or any malfunctions. We go back in January to get another CT scan to make sure everything looks good and is functioning properly.

From our end, I think this was the hardest part for me to go through. It was hard to have our baby home with us for 3 months and get to know her personality and see all her smiles and then go into the recovery room after the surgery and hear her crying and not being able to be consoled.

We are so thankful that everything went so well and we are blessed to have caught everything so early so that she wasn't having any outward signs of anything being wrong. In fact, when we were at the neurosurgeon the day before the surgery, the doctor and many nurses talked about how amazing it was that she was so happy and alert and had no limitations to the right side of her body since the left side had such a large cyst. Our prayer has been that we will never see any negative side effects of Liana having her bleed and I believe God is going to show everyone what a miracle baby she is! We are so thankful for all of the prayers you have lifted up for our Liana.


At The Hospital

They just took Liana back for surgery. Her CT scan yesterday showed us that her left ventricle had gotten a lot larger and a cyst had developed inside it. There are two ways the surgery could go. The most likely possiblity is that they will put in a shunt to remove the pressure, but they may be able to just put holes in the cyst for it to drain on it's own. We know that whatever way the surgery goes, God is going to completely heal her. We have seen so many miracles with our girls and we believe we are going to see another one. Thank you for all your prayers!

Posted with LifeCast


We need your prayers

Wade has written about this already, but I wanted to put it on my blog as well.

Yesterday we went for a cranial ultrasound to check Liana's brain. We go to these like every two months or so and yesterday's results there were not good. Liana's left ventricle has been enlarged from the bleed, but when we saw this scan it had gotten substantially bigger. The scariest reason could be that the ventricle has gotten clogged with the blood resolving and the spinal fluid that is made there is swelling the ventricle. The only way to remedy this is to put a shunt in the brain. When she had her bleed, surrounding brain tissue was affected. So another reason is we might be seeing that affected brain tissue dying and in its place is just fluid now.

Either way, we are continuing to pray for a miracle. I am praying that this will just give her a bigger platform so that God can show the doctors something impossible happen in her brain. I am praying that a scan will show that nothing is wrong and they will wonder if they got the right baby's chart. Please rally with us to pray for sweet Liana.

We go today at 1:45 to get the CT scan and then discuss everything with our neurosurgeon afterwards. Please pray for us during that time.

Also, our dear friends the Freemans need your prayers. Please go to their blog to know more about Kayleigh's situation.


Seriously, can babies be any cuter?

Whenever I take out the camera, the girls turn on the charm. Does this mean that they are going to want to be baby models or something? I think Adleigh might be turning into a comedian with all these amazing facial expressions.

Adleigh staring intently at her toys above her head.

Liana signaling that the photo shoot and play time is over!
A little update for you:
The girls got their RSV shot today and we found out they both weighed 11 lbs 12 ozs. We are trying to figure out now what to do with Liana's reflux. She cries a lot during the day and then wakes up every hour or two during the night crying. She is on Reglan right now and I have been reading about some side effects of that and I want to see if we can experiment with some other ways to help her. We definitely know that she is refluxing because we see her gag/burp and then she will cry. She is also on Axid which makes her food less acidic once it is in her stomach, but that doesn't seem to change much right now. So if anyone has any ideas on things I could mention to her doctor let me know. Keep her in your prayers because I know she has to be miserable spitting up her food all the time. Thank you so much.


My Favorite Things (part 2)

This is part 2 of an ongoing series of my favorite things we have for the babies. Today I want to show you a toy that the girls really enjoy.

Wade's mom found these awesome baby barbells online and ordered them for the girls. The girls have keys, rattles, and little phones but they would drop them immediately after we put them in their hands. They seemed to be a little too heavy or the handle was a little big for their hands. So enter the barbell...it is the perfect size. They weigh an ounce and rattle and the girls will lift them and hold them in their hands for a long time. They also realized that they can get the lip of the barbell to their mouths and kind of gnaw on it. Not to mention that they look so cute holding them and we make tons of little jokes about them lifting weights.
Here is Adleigh with one of her barbells.
And Liana is the one who loves her barbells the most. She will keep them in her hands the longest and will put both of them in her hands more often than Adleigh. So the video is of Liana working out and loving it.


In the Photo Booth

When I see these pictures I think of the girls in a photo booth making crazier and crazier faces. The last one of Adleigh cracks me up so much!


Thanksgiving...really late

I know I should have posted this like 5 days ago, but this video was too cute to keep to myself.

I am so thankful that God blessed us with these two amazing girls. I can't imagine my life without them. Wade mentioned the other day that whenever Liana smiles he immediately thinks about how the doctors said we should take her off life support. I can't even believe that was even a thought in their minds when we see how smart and beautiful she is.

There are so many of you that I am thankful for:
Our amazing church who supported us through so much and the crazy amount of financial help they gave us.
The nurses that were vital in taking care of our babies in the hospital.
The doctors who made the touch decisions on surgeries, medications, breathing assistance and so much more that I don't even know about.
All the people who prayed hard and read the blog each night so that they would know specifically how to pray for them.
Everyone who helped us through almost 6 months with grass cutting, delicious food, gifts for the girls and more.
Wade's family, especially his mom and dad (and Jamie too!), who have given up their time to help us take care of the girls everyday.

So thank you for being amazing and for keeping up with our precious babies. You are gifts from the Lord to us!


My favorite things (part 1)

Okay so I have decided to make my New Year's resolution early. I promise to blog at least 3 to 4 times a week. I know so many of you prayed really hard for the girls and I updated you everyday and now I am failing miserably to keep you in the loop. So, you will be getting way more posts now.

Anyway, among the many amazing things we have for our girls there have been a few things that have helped me stay sane or that the girls adore. Here is the first one.

The Mobile

The girls love this thing! They will watch this go around the entire 15 minutes that it plays. Which is a long amount of time when it comes to twins. We tried to have two different mobiles but the other one was lame, so we got another one just like it. There is a lot of black and white (high contrast) designs on the bottom of the feet of the animals and under the little triangle things which is very good for babies to look at. Then there are little pieces that move on the top to make noise to keep the girls even more entertained. I can't imagine a cooler mobile.

We have started putting the girls in one crib in the morning and letting them watch their mobile together. It has started to become a really sweet time for them and for me watching it. So of course you know I have a video. So here is the video of the girls watching one of my (and hopefully their) favorite things!


The Backstory

I wanted to write somewhere everything that led up to the girls birth so that 10 years from now I won't say "I think that might have happened." So, I thought that this blog would be the best place for me to put it, but it may be the longest post ever so I will forgive you if you don't want to read it...it is more for me anyway.

On April 24, I was 19 weeks pregnant and I walked into a room for my very first ultrasound. Once the technician turned on the equipment we oooed and ahhed over an image that I couldn't make anything out of. And then she said it, "How do you feel about 2?" That was the craziest moment of my life. The next 2 hours we checked all the parts, we found out they were both girls, and everything looked great. The only thing left for us to know was if they were identical or not. My doctor made an appointment at 22 weeks for me to go to a specialist since now I was considered high risk with twins. It was there we knew that indeed they were identical and with that brought some more risks. At that appointment, the girls were labeled A (later Liana) and B (Adleigh).

We ended up having a few red flags that made it look like we had the beginning stages of twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Over the next few weeks, Liana wasn't growing as much as she was supposed to. She was 2 weeks behind Adleigh. Adleigh also had what appeared to be fluid on her heart and signs that her heart was getting larger because it was working harder. We were playing the wait and see game of how long they could stay in the womb. So once I got to 26 weeks, our specialist gave us the option of going to Cincinnati, Ohio. In Cincinnati, they had the a hospital that would do a laser surgery to correct twin to twin transfusion. And apparently 26 weeks was the last week that they could do surgery to correct it.

We drove up on June 17 and on June 18 I had a day scheduled of tests. We had an MRI, fetal echo, ultrasound, and then a meeting at the end of the day with our team of doctors. At 5 pm we sat down with them and the good news was that we didn't have twin to twin transfusion and didn't need the surgery. However, Liana did not have enough of the placenta to survive much longer and her heart was beginning to fail. They told us she might could last a week, maybe two or it might not be 24 hours. Somehow Adleigh's heart looked great on her fetal echo despite earlier ultrasounds, but if Liana's heart failed and passed away then soon after Adleigh would have brain damage and wouldn't survive for long. Their advice was to check us into the Cincinnati hospital where I would stay until they were born and ultimately until they would be healthy enough to transport to a Charlotte hospital. The only other option our doctor in Ohio gave us was to book a flight to Charlotte immediately and check ourselves into the hospital, but he strongly discouraged it. We were completely confused as to what to do and we took a minute to think of our options. This was a very hard decision for us, but a peace came over us and Wade and I both knew that we would trust God to keep both girls safe on the journey back to Charlotte.

Wade's parents had went with us so they would be the ones to drive our car back and they took us to the airport. It was almost 6 and our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30. We were in a race against time because we had no idea how long we had for Liana. Unfortunately it was the worst airport experience of our life. The doctor told me to ride in a wheelchair and we had to wait to get one of those. We had no bags, but for some reason we got tagged for a bomb search. We weren't even sure if we could make it to our flight on time because of this and no one seemed to care about our medical emergency. Then our terminal was across the entire airport and and you had to take a shuttle to get there. Finally, I just had to ditch the wheelchair and the last stretch Wade and I had to run to our loading area. Thankfully, the flight was about 5 minutes late. I had about 3 breakdowns during the time in the airport. It seems like everything was going wrong and I couldn't control any of it. Once on the plane, our flight was delayed twice, once to a technical problem and then again for some runway traffic. On the flight we tried to decide what our names for the girls would be. We had narrowed it down to about 5 names and I said that our little one, baby girl a, had to be named Liana. Liana means in Hebrew "Our God has answered our prayers." And were sure were praying for her and Adleigh.

We landed in Charlotte at 9:30 pm and our good friends Chris and Beth Brown came to pick us up. We got to the hospital at 10:00 and the Ohio people told us that they would let the Charlotte doctors know what was going on. However, when we got to the hospital no one knew what was going on and I had to explain to every person that I needed to be hooked up the fetal heart monitors right then. Finally at 10:45 pm, I was hooked up and they found both heartbeats. About 20 minutes later I got my first steroid shot that is supposed to help with the girls' lungs once they are born. At 11 pm my doctor came in and said that Liana's heartbeat had dipped a few times and he was getting uncomfortable with it. We were told we had to take them out right then. A rush of nurses came in the room and prepared me for surgery. I had never been more scared in my life. I am usually a very laid back, calm person, but at that moment I could not stop shaking. My nurse had to grab my shoulders and hold me because I was having some kind of panic attack.

Liana was born at 11:36 pm and Adleigh was born 20 seconds later at 11:37 pm on June 18, 2008. Only 6 hours after we left Ohio. We had no idea what having a preemie would be like nevermind there being 2! So they we were, 27 weeks into my pregnancy. They were due on September 18th so they were exactly 3 months early. And we had our beautiful but tiny babies: Liana Hope Joye and Adleigh Grace Joye. If you have read the blog you know the rest of the story, but between the two we pretty much covered every general health problem a preemie can face. Each day I am so blown away by how far they have come and how amazing they look. We have been incredibly blessed!


The results

Well our week of doctors appointments went really well. We had the hearing test and both girls passed in both ears! The girls had to be asleep or motionless and Liana completely surprised me. After she ate her bottle she fell asleep really fast and it only took the audiologist 5-10 minutes to check her hearing (they block out a 2 hour time slot for each patient). Adleigh was a little squirmy but it only took about 30 minutes for her hearing test.

I also got news back from Adleigh's pediatrician that all of her test results came back looking good. She is still slightly anemic, but that is going in the right direction. Her liver levels are still elevated, but coming down nicely and her bili is still a little high but it is half of what it used to be. Thank you for all of your prayers for her. Her jaundice is finally showing signs of going away and she doesn't look like a bronze beach baby as much anymore.

Liana went to her neurosurgeon and they just checked her head circumference and soft spot and said everything looked great. She will have another cranial ultrasound in 4 weeks. And then we will finally see the neurosurgeon in January.

Last but not least, we went to the pediatrician and the girls got their second RSV shot and got weighed. Adleigh pushed ahead slightly. She weighed 10 lbs exactly!!! And then Liana was an ounce less at 9 lbs 15 ozs. What am I feeding these girls?

And I leave you with some of the most beautiful eyelashes you have ever seen.




Together time

This week seemed to fly by. My mom asked me when I was going to post another blog and it feels like just yesterday I had posted one, but it has been like a week! And I know this coming week is going to be just as crazy. We have our hearing screens Monday, Liana at 8 am and Adleigh at 10 am. They are supposed to be calm or asleep and that is usually their most awake time, so we will see how that goes. Then Wednesday we go back to the neurosurgery place for Liana's head check. Thursday we go to the pediatrician for our 2nd shot for RSV and to get their weight checked. I am guessing we are between 9 and 10 lbs now. Such big girls!!

SHORT UPDATES: Liana is doing amazing. She had her physical therapy session and PT lady said she was doing way better than most preemies. She is doing some things that a 4 month old can do and we are corrected at only 2 months. Adleigh is doing just as amazing and we are seriously blown away about how strong and smart they are. God is already showing that a brain bleed has no final say over His plans. By the way, Liana's bleed is still resolving and everything is looking like it should. They will want to continue to watch her until she is about 3 years old.

Adleigh's jaundice is doing a lot better. Her liver levels are going into normal ranges. Her skin is still yellow, but looking a lot more pinky pale to me. All the scans and tests they ran came back normal so it is officially just the TPN made her liver stuff all gunky and it is hard for her to get rid of her bili. So we will be on the meds for a little while longer.

Ok so, we all know what time it is...photo shoot time! Here is a group of the girls having what we call "together time," which usually means shoving a baby into the other baby's face (jk...kinda).

Seriously how did I get both of these shots? Back to back too! Too funny.
I would like to hear your caption for this picture .


Then and Now

I loved this post from Kayleigh's blog so much that I had to do one for our girls as well.

Liana: Then

Liana: Now
Adleigh: Then
Adleigh: Now

Liana: Then
Liana: Now

Adleigh: Then
Adleigh: Now

The girls with mommy
The girls with daddy

Haven't they grown?
Liana then: 1 lb 14 ozs and Liana now: 8 lbs 13 ozs.
Adleigh then: 2 lbs 5 ozs and Adleigh now: 8 lbs 13 ozs.


The power of praying Scriptures

I am not sure if I did a short post on this before, but I wanted to let you know how Wade and I made it through the girls being in the hospital for so long. This was the hardest season of our life and the only thing we could rely on was our precious Lord. Wade and I were in a unique situation where we had heard the Lord speak clearly to our hearts 1 week prior to the girls being born that we would go through a trial with the girls but that they would end up being healthy babies. We didn't understand what it meant at the time, but it soon made sense. There are times when that word to us seemed so far away and we wondered if we had heard it right, but we repeated that promise over and over out loud to keep our faith.

Our friend Lisa Shea, who God specifically brought into my life at the perfect moment, was a prayer warrior for us. She is part of a group of people who pray for others and whenever we got news that was scary about the girls we told her and she assembled the group to pray. So many people from Elevation who regularly follow the blog were faithful to lift us up daily in prayer as well. I can't begin to tell you the peace the the Lord can bring over you when people are praying hard for you. Lisa also gave us a book by Dodie Osteen that were the scriptures of healing that Dodie spoke over herself when she had cancer and ultimately the Lord healed her without any chemo or medical treatment. We wrote several of those scriptures on notecards and taped them to Liana and Adleigh's isolettes and spoke those over them everyday. We also read the entire book of scriptures out loud often and then prayed for our girls. Here is a link to those scriptures.

We also just started playing a CD of Scriptures for our girls each day. There is so much power in proclaiming the truth of who Jesus is, and we want our girls to be covered in these truths from their earliest days. I want them to know that Jesus knew them before they were ever born and knew what amazing things they would do for His name. And I want them to know the power of the word of God. 

Finally, this may sound a little crazy, but we never spoke doubt out loud. We acknowledged what the doctor's said, but never declared it as true. For example, when we heard of Liana's brain bleed the doctors said she might not make it and we should think about removing life support, but even if we kept her alive she would never be "normal." We never once spoke those doubts aloud and actually rebuked the words of the doctors and told many nurses and doctors that our Jesus was going to heal her. The Lord says all we need is the faith of a mustard seed, and we tried to show that through what we spoke. God is going to do what is best, but we can believe with all that we have that He can choose to heal. We are still praying that there will never be any evidence of Liana's brain bleed and we still rebuke any words from doctors that say she won't be normal. 

While the girls were in the hospital and going through what feels like every issue a preemie can face between the two of them, we drew strength from Scripture. This time was super hard for me, but the word of God reminded me that Jesus had the power to do what He promised and that His love surrounded us in our situation. Those scriptures comforted me as the Lord carried me through my weakest moments and gave me His strength to press on.


4 months (a litte late)

Current update: Liana is recovering from her cold and is doing so much better. She still has a cough that sounds bad and I suction out her nose with every feeding (every 3 hours) and there is still tons of gunk. But other than that she seems happy and is still eating like a champ.

Please pray: Wade linked to this on his blog, but I wanted to tell everyone to please pray for our friends the Freemans. I think most of you know Kayleigh and she is such an amazing little girl. If you haven't read their blog you need to take some time and start at the very beginning to know what a miracle she is. She is having some big complications and we need everyone to get on their knees and pray for her.

The girls turned 4 months old on the 18th (this is 1 month their corrected age) and I have been meaning to post their birthday pictures. They are so adorable and getting so big. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am to have them home with us. We are actually sleeping in 4 hours stints at night. However, they kind of wake up a different times so I don't get 4 hours. But there is something about having your babies away from you for 3 months that makes you not mind to wake up at 3:30 am. Don't get me wrong it is really hard especially with two, but through it all I don't want this baby stage to end. I feel like I already missed so much of their little lives since I couldn't be at the hospital all the time and I want every second to be one that I cherish. Anyway, look at my beautiful babies.

And here are the girls' separate shots. These babies are gorgeous! Here is Adleigh.
Here is Liana.


The great sleepover of 2008

We got home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. Liana isn't having any bradys anymore unless it is associated with her reflux. I thought I was cautious before about germs but now I am going to be a crazy lady about it. Thank you for all your prayers because she was able to get out of the hospital quicker than we thought and she is doing much better now.

I had two really cute posts planned before we went into sickville, so here goes the first one.

Jamie (Wade's cousin) and I kept the girls by ourselves for a day and a half last week (Wade was home a little bit but we let him sleep). We had two nights where we had to keep them so we figured the best way for us to get sleep would be to have a good ole fashioned sleepover. We made a pallet downstairs and the girls slept in between us on their special pallet and it actually worked. We made a plan to do this each year around the time that they got to come home. Of course we took pictures so here are a few of the shots.