We're well into our routine with the boys at home so look for more pictures and news on the rest of the pages on the site.

Henry and Austin had their follow-up eye exam today. Henry's eyes checked out fine. Austin's are still considered immature so he'll return in a month. Both boys go back in a year to follow up.

Hannah held her brothers for the first time today. She continues to be a big help, keeping an eye on the boys, talking to them and making sure they have their pacifiers. Hannah also has the very important job of folding-closed and throwing away the dirty diapers.

The boys had a weight check today. Both have put on nearly a half-pound since their last visit to the clinic. We don't know what the magic number is, but were encouranged to hear Dr. Gorin indicate that we could soon let the boys wake us up for feedings, rather than the every-three-hour schedule we're on now.

1/15/06 - Austin and Henry's Due Date
We celebrated the boys due date with a walk around the block. Mom, Dad and Hannah are well into their routines with the boys. Papa Dingle checks on them during the day and every morning asks, "How'd the boys do last night?"

With changing tables upstairs and down loaded with diapers and supplies, Donna and Kristo are recommending the purchase of Pampers stock.

The boys visited their pediatrician, Dr. Phyllis Gorin, for the first time this morning. Their exam showed them to continue to be healthy babies outside the NICU. They've gained weight since leaving the hospital and Dr. Gorin will continue to track that on a regular basis. They each got three shots this morning, cried a lot initially but recovered quickly and were back to their affable selves in no time.

Although their weights and lengths were different on the day they were born, both measured the same length today, 18 inches. Since they were measured by different people in the delivery room on 11/8, we're thinking they were probably the same length or closer to it then too.

1/6/06 - SPRUNG!
The boys passed their overnight test and their carseat test. Mom and Dad had an infant CPR class. As promised, the boys have outgrown their "apnea of prematurity" and have mastered everything else they need to master to be deemed ready for life outside the NICU.

They still choke from time to time while feeding, but Donna has become expert at helping them through those episodes and extreme choking cases were covered in the CPR class. The boys will both sleep in "danny slings" and need their mattress elevated to a 30 degree angle to help reduce their acid reflux. Kristo rigged up one crib that the boys will share until they're out of the slings.

Two of their 8 daily feedings are from a bottle so we can give mix various supplements, extra calories and Henry's medication with breast milk. We've also been instructed to add thickener to help the boys learn better swallowing.

We left the hospital with Austin and Henry today a little after 4:00pm!

It's been a big week for Henry. He had a urinary tract infection and was given antibiotics via IV. It took an hour for the nurses (four of them!) to get a vein. He doesn't hold IVs well so we're concerned about what will happen when this one goes. The UTI is cleared up now. He also had a renal ultrasound that showed a slightly inflamed kidney, probably from the UTI. He's having a test next for urinary reflux. Henry also had a chest xray because it looked like he had a cold. His lungs are clear.

Then there was the study to see how he's swallowing. There was some concern that he was aspirating milk while he's nursing. The nurse administering the test said he wasn't aspirating any milk, but another nurse who read the chart later said he was. We'll get to the bottom of this today.

Both boys had a routine eye test and neither showed any signs of eye disease. The doctor indicated that their eyes are immature, so they'll test again in a couple weeks.

Henry continues to frequently "desat" (his blood oxygen level drops). The boys have been doing this since day one (all premies do this) but Henry does it more frequently. It may be due to acid reflux. It's common among all babies to varying degrees. Henry's is severe and he's now on Prevacid for it. The medication doesn't reduce the reflux, but it makes it more tolerable. He'll outgrow this.

Austin had his hearing checked last week and it was fine. They did a carseat test on him last week as well. He desatted right away and failed the test. (Donna told them it was too early for him!) Austin has his swallow study today. More details to come.

Now known as "the big boys" in the NICU, Austin weighs 6lbs 1.7oz and Henry weighs 6lbs 0.5oz.

Merry Christmas from the boys!

After nursing all day yesterday, no tube feeds until after Donna left for the day, Henry weighs 5 lbs 13oz this morning and Austin weighs 5 lbs 14oz.

This morning's check-in find's Austin and Henry over 5 and a half pounds. The boys were moved to a new room (with a window!) yesterday to make way for triplets that needed their NICU suite.

The nurses are trying bottle feeding for the times when Donna isn't there to nurse in an effort to get them off their feeding tubes and more ready to come home.

Kristo called to check on the boys this morning and learned that both weigh 5lbs. Five pounds!

Austin was moved to a crib on Thursday and his isolette was taken away.

Big sister Hannah visited today. She saw Henry in his crib and Austin in his isolette (he'll be heading for a crib very soon.)

Another step toward normalcy: the boys have begun wearing street clothes.

The boys are a month old today and both are over 4lbs. They look so much bigger.

The nurses are working out the strategy for moving them to cribs and they've both begun to breastfeed.

Life is good!

Four weeks into this adventure and Austin and Henry have each gained a pound! Henry is 3lbs 13oz and Austin is 3lbs 12oz.

They still have one or two apnea spells per day. Austin is a little better at resolving his on his own. Henry needs a little more help.

Kristo talked last night with one of the neonatalogists who oversaw the boys care early on. Although he doesn't work with them anymore because they're no longer "sick," he was pleased to see their progress.

"Their job now is to eat and grow," he said.

Austin and Henry are now on the "Green Team" but remain in their isolettes until they can consistently regulate their body temperature.

For the past couple weeks, the boys have been receiving a drug (from the same chemical family as caffeine-- woo hoo!) to stimulate their breathing and help reduce their apnea spells. They are now off that drug and the team is monitoring how they're doing without it.

Both boys now weigh 3lbs 7oz.

The report at 2 weeks is very good. The boys are eating more and gaining weight. Austin weighs 3lbs 1/3oz and Henry weighs 3lbs 2/3oz. Henry no longer needs his nasal cannula.

The doctors are talking about moving them to the "less intensive" convalescent care of the Green Team. When this happens, they'll be out of their isolettes and will be moved to the same room.

Sunday we were able to get our first pictures of the two of them together. Donna changed Henry's diaper for the first time yesterday.

At the boys' overnight measuring both are approaching their birth-weight. Austin weighed 2lbs 10żoz and Henry weighed 2lbs 11Żoz. We're cautioned not to get too excited about weight gain at this point because they're likely to fluctuate. Still, it feels good to us.

Donna and Kristo held each of them today and while it upsets them a little to be moved from their isolettes, it's good for them and for mom and dad and the boys do really well with it.

Austin has graduated from CPAP to nasal cannula (that small tube with prongs for the nostils) to no breating support. Henry also no longer needs his CPAP device, but is still using a nasal cannula.

Both are being fed breast milk and both are gaining weight. Henry is tracking about a day behind his brother.

Hannah visited her brothers for the first time today and thought they were pretty cute.

Donna has held both boys now and all are enjoying it.

Both are in the neonatal ICU at Children's - St. Paul.

The boys are using CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, typically used for apnea patients, to aid in their breathing. Austin is breathing room air and Henry has a little oxygen in his mix. The nurses and doctors tell us they're typical "30-weekers" and their conditions are great.

If all continues to go well, they'll come home mid to late December.

Donna is feeling better and was up and around at the end of the day. She's coming home Friday.

Stay tuned. More details to come!

January 19, 2006

Hannah holding Henry.

Hannah holding Austin.

January 15, 2006

Ready to celebrate their "due date" with a walk around the block.

Donna and Hannah pick up litter in the neighborhood.

Big Sis leads by example and looks both ways before crossing the alley.

Hannah heads out for lunch with her favorite babysitters.

January 14, 2006
Amy and Dean visit.

Henry says, "Hi bro!"

Austin says, "Hi back."

January 6, 2006
Home at last!

Bob turns his back on the boys in their seats...

and focuses on the boxes.

It's 12:01am. What are the parents up to?

January 5, 2006
Last full day in the NICU.

Bathtime for Austin.

Kristo and Austin.

Sleepy Henry.

Henry and Austin

Austin and mama.

Austin and Henry

December 22, 2005
Photos from the NICU

December 21, 2005
More Polaroids from the NICU

Santa visits Henry...

...and Austin.

December 17, 2005

December 10, 2005

Big sister Hannah pays a visit.

In the Family Area.


Austin in street clothes.

Henry's got street clothes on in there somewhere.

Austin's eyes open.

Henry's eyes open.

Where's dinner?


December 8, 2005 - One month old!
Austin on 11/8/05 Henry on 11/8/05

Austin today

Henry today

November 30, 2005

NICU Polaroids of Donna holding the boys.

November 20, 2005

Austin relaxes before a visit from Henry.

What the?

I guess this is okay.

Keeping it straight: Henry (left) and Austin

Mom, Henry, Austin, Dad

Mom-time for Henry.

November 14, 2005

Naptime for Henry.

Mom-time for Austin.

Keeping an eye out.

November 12, 2005

Kristo holds Henry for the first time.

Henry with the bili light.

Austin on the bili light.

Austin with Kristo...

...and with Donna

November 9, 2005

Henry getting help from the bili light.

Donna holds Austin for the first time.

November 8, 2005

Austin (born first) weighed 2lbs 11oz

Henry weighed 2lbs 13oz