The Michaels' Quads

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One week, One day

Yesterday we celebrated the quads one week birthday! By far the quickest week in our lives. Hopefully every week won't be this quick once they are home.


Gavin: 3 lbs "Chunk". He is receiving photo therapy for jaundice, will come off the photo therapy tomorrow morning. Otherwise, he is doing spectacular.
Maggie: 2 lbs 6 oz - Doing really well overall. They increased her oxygen levels a bit today. A few bouts of apnea last night, but have been pretty stable today.
Reese: 2 lbs 5.7 oz - Doing really well overall. A few bouts with apnea over the last 24 hours, but stable since Tiff and I have been here today.
Lauren: 1 lbs 11.5oz - Having a pretty good day thus far, but continue to ask for prayers. She still remains on:
* Jett Ventilator - assists in 420 gentle breaths per minute. Used for peak inspatory pressure (how big her breath is).
*VIP Bird Ventilator - gives her 4 "big"breaths per minute. Almost like big sighs. Helps open up the lungs.
*Nitric Oxide- used for pulmonary hypertension. Essentially this makes it easier for Lauren to breath.
*Fentanyl - all the short breaths aren't to comfortable for Lauren. The fentanyl is a pain medicine. They did decrease her dosage by 15 % today. Good news.
*Vitamin A - helps lung development.

We are praying for Lauren to come off this assistance. So much going on for our little peanut.

We want to thank 2nd Presbyterian Church for the prayer quilts! Rev. Deckert came and prayed with Tiff and I over all the babies and their new quilts. A special thank you to all those that tied a prayer knot! Very cool idea! I didn't have the opportunity to take pictures of all of them, but look forward taking some tomorrow evening and posting them.

Just to let you know a couple hours after Rev. Deckert left Lauren took a turn for the better on her VIP Bird Ventilator. They are decreasing the amount of big breaths per minute to 2! This means Lauren is not needing the assistance she did when I began this blog earlier today! A true testimony to the power of prayer!
Tiff has this favorite song since she was 16, "God is in control", by Twila Paris. Her favorite line is the opening line, "This is no time for fear, this is a time for faith and determination". Words we are living by daily.

Below are some pictures we've taken over the last couple of days.

Aunt Kassie M. with Gavin

Tiff with Gavin

Aunt Risa and Aunt Kassie S. first visit with Reese

Our Little Lauren

Jon's first hold with Maggie

Monday, February 25, 2008

Update on Lauren!

God is good! Lauren's Payton Duct (PDA) closed! Thank you for the prayers everyone! They are being answered! I'll update this post later, but just had to share the news with family and friends.

Tiff held Maggie and I held Gavin for the first time yesterday. Gavin and I took an hour nap:) Talk about being at peace with the world! I'll try to post our pictures later today. I'm debating if I want my harry chest plastered over the web. I have a few best buds who would have a field day with that one (Matt R ;)

Love you guys!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Good Morning! It's check out day for Tiff. She is progressing so well they are ready to give us the boot:) I speak for the both of us in saying it will be an adjustment not actually sleeping here. We are very fortunate there's a free guest house, across the street, we're able to stay at for the first week. We'll move in later today.
Babies are doing well. I'm going to act like I know what I'm talking about, but still have quite a bit to learn. I found it easier to take a notebook with me to take detailed notes. Our nurses have been very patient with me as I try to understand everything that is going on.

How they're doing:
Gavin - breathing on his own without assistance. Taking his milk in, just loving life. He's a bit spoiled however. What's new? He's the only one we can hold at this point. Watching him and Tiff cuddle up is so cool! His flow of assisted oxygen is down from a 3 to a 2.

Reese - She's catching up to Gavin! She's off the ventilator, but requires a little more oxygen. We're thinking we'll be able to hold her within the next couple of days if not sooner.

Lauren - She is on a new ventilator called a "Jett Ventilator". The ventilator pumps 420 short breaths and helps the lungs exchange O2 and CO2. It's been very effective and already decreased her O2 levels. Her blood gases have shown improvement since being on the jett ventilator as well. She is currently under the lamps (phototherapy) for her jaundice.
There are some concerns with her PDA (payton duct) which, in full term babies, closes following birth. Lauren's didn't close. So I avoid acting like a doctor and describing something wrong...the PDA needs to close. They are giving her some medication, which is similar to ibuprofen to help close this duct. If not, we may be looking a procedure which would be in Peoria IL, not Champaign. We're not there yet though! We've been given numbers indicating this medicine will work 70% of the time.
Maggie - She's off the ventilator and on a c-pap. She has a few episodes where she gets a little lazy and forgets to breath, but has been pretty good the last 24 hours.
I have a lot to learn so hopefully will be better with my details as we go along, but wanted to let everyone know things are going well, just need a few more prayers for Lauren at this point.

Here are some more pictures:

Reese gripping Jon's finger. Strong Grip!

Tiff's First Touch - with Maggie

Grandma and Grandpa Michaels first visit - with Reese

Grandma and Grandpa Samuels first visit - with Reese

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Here's how the biggest day in our lives transpired:

Happy 28th!! - Our parents came up to celebrate 28 weeks of the Quads staying in Tiff's belly.
Then, around 8 p.m. Lori, our nurse for the evening, and the rest of the staff on duty, surprised us with a 28 week party. We popped some Grape Welches bubbly and celebrated.

About 10 minutes after this picture was taken Gavin's sac broke and there was a pretty good feeling from everyone that this could be the moment we've been waiting over three years for!
Dr. Wagner was on duty and took Tiff back to the Operating Room , on our floor , to examine Tiff's cerclage. Results - one stitch had already come apart and the other was not too far away. Dr. Wagner came back to our room and gave us the news and told me to scrub up and get ready - TIFF's GOING TO DELIVER!! She indicated if they attempted to remove the second stitch Gavin would be heading down the Panama:) Myself, our parents, and Dr. Wagner all prayed together and I headed back to the OR with Tiff.

I know it sounds cliche for us, but everything was so smooth. God truly blessed us through the next two hours. There was so much going on behind the scenes, but Tiff and I were at peace with everything! We had previously requested, when the time comes, we wanted our nurses, Vanessa, Lori, Maggie and Tina (left to right below)to be there. They all made it in time to scrub in. This was such a calming factor for the two of us. We've loved them like family over the past month!
The only other person we still needed was Dr. Kehl. He later informed us that he got "the call" just after bringing his daughter home from a performance she had. He high tailed it from his home about 20 minutes away and was there for the delivery. Another calming factor for us! (Below: He and Tiff just prior to the c-section.)

Okay ..........

Gavin Christopher (above)

Reese Suzanne (above)

Maggie Ray (above)

and last, but not least: Lauren Kay

All babies are doing well. Gavin is breathing on his own already. Maggie, Reese, and Lauren are on ventilators, but doing well and holding stable. Reese and Maggie are getting real close to being off the ventilator...just a little ways to go. Lauren is so active and opens her eyes more than all four. She will probably be on the ventilator longer than her sisters, but it's already evident she's going to be a feisty little thing!

Tiff is still healing from her c-section, and has already been doing some walking today. Hard to believe that until yesterday she hadn't taken more than three steps in over a month. Just a small walk to the bathroom puts her out of breath.

We've been able to be around the quads in the NICU as long as we like. Tiff and I have been able to touch them. In fact, Gavin is doing so well Tiff was able to snuggle up with him for an hour today

While everyone is doing great we still appreciate all your prayers! Our babies are still just little tykes with possibly a couple of months to go before they can come home. We are expecting some up and downs, but have complete faith in God's plan.

We are reading your blogs, texts, and e-mails. Thank you and keep them coming!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quad Squad has Arrived!!

Hi All,

As of 10:31 p.m. Tuesday night (2/19/08) our family of 2 became 6! We are so blessed! Everyone, including Mom, are doing well. I will blog more tomorrow with pictures/details, but wanted to give you names and weight:

(A) Gavin Christopher (2 lbs 13 oz) 10:29 p.m.

(C) Reese Suzanne (2 lbs 3 oz) 10:30 p.m.

(B) Maggie Ray (2 lbs 8 oz) 10:31 p.m.

(D) Lauren Kay (1 lbs 7 oz) 10:31 p.m.

Everything went soooooo smooth after Tiff's water broke (Gavin's sac). Our team here at Carle are absolutely amazing!!! Thanks for all your continued prayers!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Growth Sonogram

Here were our results from the growth sonogram today:

A (boy) = 2lbs 14 oz (gained 10 oz in 2 weeks)

B (girl) = 2lbs 8 oz (gained 9 oz in 2 weeks)

C (girl) = 2lbs 4 oz (gained 4 oz in 2 weeks)

D (girl) = 1lbs 6 oz (gained 2 oz in 2 weeks)

Dr. Kehl vistited after and is happy with the progress. All babies are growing and heart and fluid look good. We would like to see baby D grow more, but Dr. Kehl didn't express any concern with her. Tomorrow is 28 weeks!!!

Tiff looks great and is doing well!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I wanted to give everyone a quick update! Friday night/Saturday morning we were pretty confident the Quads were going to be here. It started early Friday afternoon with Tiff noticing some bleeding. This eventually subsided, but then her contractions became more and more frequent that they kept increasing her medication. At this point Dr. Kehl decided to go ahead with the second round of steriod shots just in case. He liked to space the steroids a month apart and we were just a day or two away from a full month, so he decided to go ahead a couple days early. As Friday progressed Tiff was contracting so frequently they maxed her dosage of magnesium to a level 4. All of our parents were here throughout the night ready to be on hand should the delivery take place. Thankfully, Saturday late morning things started to stabalize and the babies are still with Tiff. Awesome! They completely took her off magnesium since her mag levels were to high. She is back on her typical oral medicine and things have continued to remain stable. Huge blessing.

We spoke with Dr. Kehl this morning and he is taking it a day at a time. We will have to live with the fact that Tiff is a contractor. As long as she is not feeling the contractions (which she isn't) we'll continue to plug along. We set our goals on reaching week 28 (Tuesday - 2/19) at this point. Every day we can get is huge in terms of development. Tomorrow is our growth sonogram so we'll be able to see how much the babies have grown in length and weight. We're still praying for baby "D" and her weight to of increased from 1.4 oz.

Tiffany and I would like thank everyone for their prayers, texts, blogs, e-mails, phone calls, and cards! We apologize if we haven't gotten back to anyone, but please know we are reading and listening to all your messages!

Also! - Thank you Kristy and Pam for calling me ASAP and staying calm while I was still in Bloomington Friday!

God Bless! We appreciate all your prayers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tiffany's contractions increased today so nurses gave her a few shots of terb, which didn't solve the problem. At about 6 p.m. this evening Dr. Kehl decided to put Tiff back on magnesium. I'm looking at Tiff's charts as I type and everything looks really good. If everything goes as planned Dr. Kehl would like to have the magnesium weened off by Friday morning. He really believes that Tiff has just been going through a big growth spurt the last few days. Even more importantly, Dr. Kehl feels she could go at least another week or two before delivering. We don't have a "due date", but as long as the babies aren't in distress and Tiff is doing fine we'll keep moving forward.

We did have a sonogram today and all babies are doing great. They all scored 8 out of 8 for breathing, sac fluid, movement, and heartbeats! Very Cool!

Thanks everyone for your prayers! Hope everyone has a Happy Valentines day tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

27 WEEKS!!!

It's been a great day thus far. What an accomplishment for Tiff to reach 27 weeks. I attribute this to her being such a rule follower and following every instruction the doctors and nurses have given her. There is nothing more Tiff could be doing that she isn't already. That being said, contractions have slowed down, it has been a much better day emotionally, and Tiff has not had a terb shot since 2 a.m. this morning. We like to think that the last couple of days have just been a big growth spirt!

Tomorrow Tiff will have another sonogram to look at breathing, fluid, heartbeats, and movement of all the babies. Hope all is well with the world outside of Hotel Carle!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Well, Tiff didn't have the best day today:
  • Contractions were pretty constant this morning (every two/three minutes). The nurse had to administor a "terb" shot which has seemed to calm things down somewhat. This is the third day in a row for this shot.
  • She was weighed and lost weight. We are thinking the babies are taking most of the food, but something we didn't want to hear. As a side note, I weighed her myself this evening and she was 10lbs heavier than the morning measurement. Her bed is a sophisticated bed in that it can take a weight, but maybe to sophisticated. We're thinking a stand up scale may be more accurate
  • The sonogram this afternoon showed that all babies are doing well! However Tiff's cervix has decreased in size a little (.78), which the doctor's will need to keep an eye on.

Tiff is still Tiff! She is very positive and upbeat as usual. We didn't see Dr. Kehl this evening so we're hoping to see him tomorrow. As I speak all the nurses are in the room signing a pillow case for Tiff and chatting. Lori one of the nurses brought the pillow case in knowing how fond Tiff is of her pillow cases. What an amazing, supportive staff here!

We continue to be specific with our prayers. We appreciate everyone continueing to pray for us and the babies. We truly feel blessed to have each and every day that God keeps these babies in Tiff's belly.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Things are going great!

Last few days have been wonderful and there have been hardly any contractions at all. We had some exciting news on Tuesday. I got to move to a bigger room with a better view! Thursday we got a call from Dave Taylor, CEO of Dorell Juvenile Group and close friend of Dr. Jarrett, stating his company wanted to donate two double strollers with four matching car seats to Jon and I. I was so excited I started crying and just couldn't get over Mr. Taylors generosity! I know we keep saying this, but we are truly blessed.

Tonight our good friends, Patrick and Christina Vance, brought us Olive Garden and joined us for dinner. It was so good to spend time with them!

Tomorrow we are 26 weeks/3 days and things continue to go well!

Monday, February 4, 2008

"They Met, They Married, They Multiplied!"

What an amazing weekend for Tiff, myself, and our family to come! Saturday night I attended a "baby shower" at Entourage in Bloomington which my sister, Kassie, and good friend Kori Gettel put together on our behalf. (Kassie and Kori in the picture above)

I was absolutely shocked to show up and see over 300 close friends and family. Most everyone was wearing T-shirts (pink or blue) which had on the back "They Met. They Married. They Multiplied."
Merge, an amazing band, played all night. There was a silent auction in which several local business and friends donated packages and a diaper drive at the door.

(Picture to the right - The Doran's, Fletcher's, and Jon's parents)
Everything went so smooth and we both feel so blessed for everyones attendance and generosity.
Unfortunately, Tiff had to stay behind in Champaign so there was a definite void Saturday night. Jan, Tiff's mom, stayed with her while we were at Entourage. Sunday Kori and Kassie brought the video, pictures, and details of the shower. Tiff loved it all!

Today was our target sonogram which gives us the weight of each baby. A (boy) = 2 lbs 4 oz
B = 1lbs 15 oz C= 2lbs D= 1lbs 4 oz.
Weight gained in the last two weeks: A 4 oz, B 8 oz, C 7 oz, D 2 oz.
All heart beats look good, remaining sac fluid looks good, and all are active. Dr. Kehl seems please with the progess of the babies. Tiff and I were a little concerned Baby D has only grown 2 oz, but Dr. Kehl alleved some of those concerns by indicating that sometimes the smallest babies are the healthiest. He's not worried now, but we do need her to gain weight!

Tiff continues to be amazing, always positive and high on life. As a matter of fact, she went the whole night without contractions Sunday evening/Monday morning.
A great example of prayers being answered: Her cervix has remained stable, no change in size! We thank everyone for their generosity, e-mails, texts, phone calls and most of all prayers.
Tomorrow brings 26 weeks! Just one more milestone complete!
Love you all! Jon & Tiff