Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas to all this beautiful Christmas day in 2010. This was a very special Christmas in the Stansel household. This is the first Christmas for Haley and Rachel to celebrate at home with mom and dad and family.  We celebrated Christmas in Austin with both sides of our families.  We enjoyed spending time with family, eating good food and celebrating Christmas together as a family.  Although we know the girls are a little young to understand all that was going on, they seemed to enjoy this Christmas day. They loved opening their Christmas presents with help from Grandma Benedict and mommy. I still don't know what they liked more the presents or the wrapping paper and bows, either way they were going in the mouth. It was very special to Thomas and I to just have them with us at home this Christmas day. They bring much joy and happiness to our home. We love and cherish them so very much. We are so grateful this Christmas season to have the most beautiful little girls with us to celebrate this sacred season. Most importantly we are grateful to our Heavenly Father for his Holy Son Jesus Christ. Without Christ there would be no Christmas, and without Christ there can be no fullness of joy.That knowledge alone brings the greatest comfort to me and my family. We declare to the World that Jesus Christ is indeed the first born of our Heavenly Father in the Spirit, and that this Jesus, the Christmas child, condescended to come to earth from the realms of His Eternal Father, here to work among men as healer and teacher, our Great Exemplar. And further, and most important, He suffered on Calvary’s cross as an atoning sacrifice for all mankind. At this time of Christmas, this season when gifts are given, let us not forget that God gave His Son, and His Son gave His life, that each of us might have the gift of eternal life.  Merry Christmas!

In front of our Christmas tree before we went to Austin

Here are pictures of the girls opening up their gifts.  They loved the bows and paper!

They like the curly ribbon

Rachel eating the paper

Haley likes her toy and Rachel likes the bow

Playing with the paper

They got a telephone

Haley playing with the telephone


Daddy holding Rachel.  She's so happy!

My parents, Thomas, me, the girls and my brother and his wife and kids

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Pictures

We had Christmas pictures taken 2 weeks ago and we used some of those pictures to make our Christmas card this year.  We want to share our Christmas card and Christmas pictures with all our readers.  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Santa Babies

Haley and Rachel so cute together



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Visit with Santa

The girls got to sit on Santa's lap for the first time today.  We found Santa at REI (outdoor sports store) and had the opportunity to take a picture with Haley and Rachel on his lap.  I was so surprised that they didn't seem to mind Santa at all.  I thought that at least Rachel would get upset and cry, but she didn't.  When I was about their age many years ago, I got upset on Santa's lap.  I'm so proud of them.  They did so good.  It's so wonderful to have the girls home with us this Christmas. 

Haley and Rachel with Santa

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good Stuff

The girls were able to spend a little time with Grandma and Grandpa Stansel this evening as they have finished their year and a half church mission in New Orleans. Grandma and Grandpa were on there way home to Austin today and stopped in for a little while to see the girls. It was good to see Grandma and Grandpa Stansel. We love them and are so glad they are home. 
Rachel and Haley also had their monthly Synagis Shots today to help protect them from RSV. They will get these shots each month until the RSV season ends.  Poor girls have to endure those shots for another 3-4 months, but they are worth it to protect them.
Both Rachel and Haley surprised us today.  Our new OT got Rachel to drink 1/2 an ounce of formula from the bottle.  This is a great accomplishment for her as she has not drank from a bottle since February 2010.  It doesn't seem like much, but its great for her.  Haley also surprised us when she drank 9oz of formula at her 7pm feeding.  She has not drank that much for us before.  Way to go Rachel and Haley!  They are really making good progress with the help from the OT.  
I love the new Christmas tree ornament I received in the mail today.  I found this six peas in the pod ornament in a catalog and was excited to get it with all our sextuplets names on it.  Our Christmas tree has many ornaments on it remembering all our children.

Here are some random pictures of the girls we have taken the past couple of days.  We just can't take enough pictures.

Rachel in her cute polka dot outfit

Haley loves touching her feet
Sleepy Haley.  She loves her little blankets.

Sleepy Rachel

Saturday, December 4, 2010

16 months old!

Today the girls are 16 months old chronologically.  They have also made it to 1 year adjusted for their prematurity.  Again we express our gratitude for being able to love and raise Rachel and Haley.  They have come a long way seeing how early they were born and how little they were when they were born.  Being born at almost 23 weeks, the odds were against them, but they beat the odds and are here with us today.  What miracles and blessings they are! 

At 16 months old, Rachel is 18 pounds and Haley is 15 1/2 pounds.  They are small for their age, but continue to grow and make progress.  

At a church Christmas activity (12/4/2010)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's December...Christmas is coming

It's December and Christmas is almost here.  Our Christmas tree is up and all decorated.  It seems like yesterday we were celebrating the girls first Christmas.  We are happy to celebrate having Rachel and Haley home with us for their second Christmas, but their first one at home.  It will be so much fun to watch them Christmas morning tearing up the wrapping paper on their gifts.  Along with the Christmas excitement building we are also excited with the new occupational therapy Rachel and Haley are getting.  As mentioned before, Rachel is aversive to eating foods by mouth and therefore is fed through her g-tube.  We got an answer to our prayers when an occupational therapist was recommended to us that specializes in feeding issues like Rachel's.  The occupational therapist just started seeing the girls and they are already making some progress.  The OT comes to our house everyday and has both Rachel and Haley on an intensive sensory diet.  This sensory diet is all about sensory input and we have to give them specific sensory input every 2 hours.  The girls missed out on a lot of natural steps/sensory input while they were in the NICU and that is what has caused some of the feeding issues with Rachel.  Haley will also benefit from this sensory diet to help channel some of her feisty energy.  We are so thrilled to have this OT help us with getting Rachel to eat.  It will be great to see her eat and progress in that area. This Christmas Season we are so eternally grateful for our precious girls. They have filled our home with such tremendous joy and happiness. We are so thankful to all who have helped our girls progress and become much stronger. 

Our Christmas Tree

Rachel in the jumper.  She used to not like being in it, but now she likes it.
Rachel playing amongst a lot of toys.  Our living room is filled with toys.
Haley playing
Haley playing with her lighted vibrating ball

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! This is the girls second Thanksgiving but it's the first one home. So much has happened since last year at this time. I have reflected back on last Thanksgiving and am so grateful for the progress and the milestones that Haley and Rachel have made since that time. Thomas and I are so grateful for our beautiful daughters. They have brought so much joy and happiness to us. We cherish them and love them more than anything.  We enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with Grandma and Grandpa Benedict (my parents) in Austin. We had a nice Thanksgiving meal and enjoyed time together as a family.  The girls also enjoyed Grandma's backyard sitting in the leaves.  The weather was warm until a cold front came through mid-day.  We got some good pictures outside before it got cold.  It was a wonderful Thanksgiving all together as a family.  We are so blessed and grateful!    

Family picture

The girls with Grandpa and Grandma
Rachel and Haley.  I love their cute Thanksgiving bibs.

Playing in the leaves.  Rachel was determined to get her hands in them.
Cute little Haley

Rachel playing with a leaf.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sickness and g-button problem

Poor little Rachel and Haley are sick with colds.  Their colds started a week ago and I thought they were on the way to getting better when Rachel started running a low grade temp.  So to be safe we took her to the pediatrician.  Her lungs sounded good so the doctor suspected she has a sinus infection.  She is now on an antibiotic (amoxicillan).  We love those antibiotics.  Rachel always gets diarrhea and a bad rash when she is on an antibiotic.  To top it off, Rachel's g-button has been leaking a lot.  So we had to change it out and it seems to be better now.  Poor sweet baby has been through it the past couple of days, but she is getting better.  She didn't have a fever today so that's a good sign.  Haley is getting better as well.  Her cold hasn't slowed her down.  She is still feisty and active.  She has been sitting so well.  She is sitting longer before falling over.  Well the girls will get through these colds.  We are so grateful that these colds weren't any worse.
Rachel is happy despite her cold


Haley sitting so well

Haley so happy

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Good Reports

Last week the girls saw Dr. Rivera (Neurologist) and got a good report. He seemed extremely happy and somewhat surprised with how well the girls are progressing considering what they have been through and how early they were born. Rachel and Haley both had MRI'S at the end of October, so we went into this appointment with lots of questions regarding what the MRI's showed. Dr. Rivera explained the MRI results and said that Haley's grade 4 bleed had completely resolved. He said that the brains of babies who have had brain bleeds are able to make connections in other parts of the brain to compensate for the part of the brain with the bleed. We wanted to know how this would affect her in the future. He said that right now all they have to go by is how she is doing mobility wise. We won't know if there will be any effect with behavior or learning until she gets older. So far though we don't see any abnormal behavior. She acts like a normal baby. Rachel also got a fairly good report despite her diagnosis of PVL (periventricular leukomalacia). She is mildly hypotonic which means she is a little floppy (or has low muscle tone). Physical therapy will help her to get stronger. She has made progress with her mobility. She is doing so much better at rolling, lifting her head and getting up on her knees in preparation to crawl.
Today the girls saw Dr. Robertson (pulmonologist) who said the girls lungs sound good despite them being sick with colds right now. He doesn't want to see them again until May 2011. We hope for a healthy as possible fall/winter season.
We are so grateful for the good reports that the girls have gotten. It's so nice to get good reports. As a mom, I worry about Rachel and Haley a lot. I know that seeing how early they were born they are going to struggle with some challenges, but I hope the challenges will get easier and better with time. They have gotten better since being home from the NICU. I have faith that things will get better as they get older and stronger. The Lord has truly blessed them to this point in their lives. He will continue to bless them. I know that God will do what is best for our little girls, whether that they will be completely healed from all their difficulties or they will have challenges that we do not for see right now. The Lord knows the future, he knows what is best for the girls and he will do according to their individual needs and what he sees will be most beneficial to them eternally speaking.

Rachel being silly

 Haley having fun

Haley and Rachel playing together

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ready for Flu and RSV season

Both Rachel and Haley got their first flu shot a month ago and will be getting their second flu shot next week. Yesterday the girls got their Synagis shot. Synagis helps to protect them from RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). They will both have to get this shot once a month through out the RSV season. Typically RSV is most common in children under 1 year. Since the girls were born extremely premature their doctors thought it would be best the girls get the Synagis shots through this RSV season. We have been blessed that the girls have not gotten terribly sick to land them back in the hospital. I'm glad they will be better protected this flu and RSV season.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

15 months old

The girls are 15 months old! I can't believe how time flies! My little babies are growing up fast. Rachel is working so hard at trying to crawl. She is getting closer to it everyday. Though she may not crawl perfectly yet, she is good at rolling from one side of the living room to the other side. She is moving all around. Rachel has also been so vocal lately. I really think that the ear tubes she had placed over a month ago has really helped her. Rachel is such a happy, smiley little girl. We are still struggling to get Rachel to eat baby food. Its going to take more patience, work, time and therapy to get her to eat. I hope it will happen sooner than later.

Rachel getting a break from the helmet and glasses. She is a happy girl! She has such beautiful blue eyes. I love them.

Rachel playing

Haley is doing so good at sitting with less assistance. She can sit without assistance for a short time, but she still topples over. She is getting better at it everyday. Haley is also doing so much better at lifting her head when she is on her tummy. She is starting to use her hands and arms to lift her self up while on her tummy. She wasn't doing this a couple of weeks ago. Haley is also eating so well. She loves her baby food. She is doing better at eating vegetables. I found a way to get her to eat the vegetables. I give her bites of fruit while I'm feeding her the vegetables and it works. She is so spunky and so cute. She keeps us laughing.

Haley sitting by herself

I took this picture while getting Haley ready for bed. She is sitting so well.

Helmet update: Both girls had a follow up appointment with the helmets. Rachel has been in her helmet for 3 months now and Haley for 2 months. They both are making progress at a rounder head. Rachel has 1-2 more months in her helmet and Haley has 2-3 more months. They have been troopers at wearing their helmets. They have done well with little problems. I do look forward to the day they can get them off and to the day they have round heads.