Quintuplet Dad

This is a blog for Jayson Wilkinson farther to the Wilkinson Quints as well as Riley and Kaiya.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

5 Beautiful Babies!!!

Wow, what an experience that was! I can hardly believe they are here. I was in the delivery room and it was awesome to see one beautiful baby come out after another. I took a bunch of video but I don't know if I will have time to put it up here yet but I just wanted to let everybody know that the babies are here and they are beautiful. Although I might not have enough time to put it on YouTube, I have some video that I am sending to the local Austin TV stations so look for it there. If I don't post it tonight, I should for sure have it by tomorrow. Something else, that I have to mention because it was so cool is that the doctor that actually performed the c section (Dr. Park who is really awesome) actually baked five little cakes for the birthday! I will put a picture of the cakes here:

Here is the video (I will try to put up pictures of the babies for those that can't see the video):


Monday, July 30, 2007

Final Post Before the Big Day!

One other thing I wanted to do was get one final post in before tomorrow. I am not sure when I am going to be able to post anything tomorrow but I will do it as soon as I can. I wanted to just thank everyone again for all the support and prayers you have given us. This has been something truly remarkable. In the beginning, I would never have guessed that things would be like they are. In the beginning, I was so nervous and unsure of what the rest of my life was going to be like but, for some reason, I feel pretty good about things now. We are surrounded by people that are sincerely concerned for us and really want to help us out. We still have such a long way to go but I really feel like angels are watching over us and a lot of that is due to the prayers from all of you.

If I can get it soon enough, I will hope to get a post in tomorrow. Also, if everything goes well, KVUE should be doing a follow up story tomorrow night on the news. There is also a decent chance that the Austin-American Statesman (the main Austin newspaper) will be doing a story about us for the Wednesday paper so look for it. Whatever they do, we will be sure to put links to it up on our blog and web site soon afterwards.

Again, thank you all for all your support and keep praying for us. I am sure we will keep needing it.

The spelling of the names

I think there were a few of you out there (like Jeanette Nielson in Thailand) who can't view the video (which is a shame since my kids are so cute) so I thought I ought to write them out. I also want to do this in case one of my kids was less articulate than he or she should have been. Here are the names spelled out:


There is a very real danger that I have spelled them wrong so I will have Rachelle check this to make sure they are all correct. Also, keep in mind that something strange could happen and we could completely change our minds.

Something someone pointed out to Rachelle yesterday, that I thought was funny, is that July 31 is Harry Potter's birthday. OK, so Harry Potter is a fictional person that some think is evil but I still thought it was funny thing especially considering the last book just came out a week ago. We still won't be changing their names to match Harry Potter names though. Personally, I think that would be kind of funny but it probably isn't a very nice thing to do to your kids and Rachelle would never go for it so we will probably stick with the names listed above.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Riley and Kaiya discuss the names

OK, I think we are ready to disclose the names with the understanding that these could potentially change. To do this, I have engaged the services of two adorable kids who discuss it in the video.

So that is it except for the spellings which we will supply later.

The names

OK, I am getting ready to post the first names. Stay tuned and I will post them later today (unless we change our minds).

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rachelle's Story Featured on our Local News!

Update: I heard just today that my dad also worked it out so that his side of the family will be helping with the washer and dryer as well. I am actually really glad that we have the opportunity to do something that will bring the families together.

Last night, KVUE, a local ABC affiliate showed a story about Rachelle that was really nice. They used some of the video I put on yesterday's post as well as a bunch of other stuff. It was really good and you can check it out at by clicking on this link:

KVUE news story

It was a really busy day for Rachelle yesterday actually. Originally, a news crew from one of the Phoenix stations (Channel 3) was going to come and get some video of her here for a local Phoenix news cast. Unfortunately, right before they were going to come, they had a really tragic helicopter accident where their helicopter ran into another news station's helicopter and killed both the crews from each. After that, they called Rachelle and told her they probably wouldn't be able to do the story yesterday.

Something else that I wanted to mention was that more and more people are stepping up to help us out. My uncle Ken is a graduate of West Point (Class of 66) and sent an email to all his graduating class about us and many of them responded very generously. Also, my mom's side of the family (The Nelsons) got together and decided to buy us a really nice washer and dryer! When I say really nice, I mean super nice. That is really so generous of them that I feel kind of bad but people keep telling me that I need to stop feeling bad about that kind of stuff so I am working on it.

Anyway, I visited with Rachelle a lot last night and we went to take a tour of the NICU. It was amazing how little those babies are in there. While visiting the NICU and seeing those babies, the reality of what is about to happen set in (it does that every once in a while) and I felt just a little overwhelmed. However, that passed fairly quickly and I got back to just thinking about what is going on today instead. I realize, however, that in just 72 hours from now, I will have 5 babies and a tired, but recovering, wife. I guess I had better read that Harry Potter book soon.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

The tightness of the belly and some video of Rachelle

Update: There is a decent chance that Rachelle's story will be on KVUE in Austin tonight at 10:00 so check it out if you get a chance (we will have to hear from others how it went).

I visited Rachelle for a long time yesterday evening and we had a good visit. A few weeks ago, she started telling me that her skin felt tight. Almost every day since then, she says that it feels tighter than it did the previous day. Yesterday, she said she felt like it was going to burst any second. I put my hand on it and it was amazingly tight. I don't know how those babies are going to be able to grow any more! It looks like if you put a pin in her, it would all pop (not that I plan on doing that).

We also discussed names yesterday. We have had a pretty good idea on names for a while but had a small disagreement on a few of them. I think it is resolved now but I will wait for Rachelle to actually announce them. I have to admit that at first, I honestly couldn't remember all of the names we had come up with. We discussed a lot and I had a hard time trying to remember the ones we settled on. I remember them now but will wait until I get the OK from Rachelle to share them all.

We also took more video the other day that I wanted to share. This is a video of Rachelle posing for photos that her mom is taking. She looks pretty good as you can see. If it were not for that big thing in the middle, she would probably look fairly normal. While we were there the other day, the dietitian came in talked with her about what she should eat. Although the dietitian was serious, the things she recommended were kind of funny.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Babies getting smarter every day

One of the things I decided the other day (that I was hoping would motivate Rachelle to keep going) was that from now on, every day the babies are inside her is equal to 1 additional point on the ACT standardized test. We expect that getting into BYU (let alone qualifying for scholarships) will be even more difficult than it is now so they will need the best ACT score they can get. Right now, I figure they are at about a 25 (which is pretty good) and in just 5 more days they will be at a 30 and will almost be good enough to equal what their mom got on the ACT. OK, I know this isn't really accurate, but it gives us some good motivation anyway.

Betty Ann, Jeanie, and I went to the hospital today and the ultrasound person measured each of the babies. After seeing what the estimated weights were for the last ultrasound, I really wondered how they were able to determine weight since they obviously can't just go in and measure the weight of the baby. After talking with a few people, it appears that they basically have some weight charts that are based on various physical measurements they can make from the outside. These include things like the size of the femur, the size of the head and a bunch of other measurements. It basically means that if those measurements are within a certain range, the baby will be within a certain weight. What they can't really tell is how much fat each of the babies will have since they can't see that on the ultrasound. Based on averages, however, they can know that babies with certain measurements will be approximately a certain amount of pounds.

Based on these measurements, our babies appear to be doing fairly well. Perhaps a little too well because it looks like, if the weight guesses are even within +/- 1 pound, she stands a good chance of breaking the record for largest total birth weight for quintuplets. I am not going to write the specific weights here. You will have to get those from Rachelle's blog. I would view them with a word of caution though because they are big enough that we are still not sure if they can really be accurate.

Also, for some more exciting news, I got some video of Rachelle's tub (without her in it of course). Rachelle wrote about this in her last post so I thought I would get something visual so people could see it. Check out the video here:


Forgot to mention the significance of the 24th of July

Yesterday was the 24th of July. In addition to marking 33 weeks of gestation for Rachelle, it is also a significant holiday that I forgot to mention. In Utah, the 24th of July is Pioneer Day celebrating the long and difficult journey made by so many people across the plains to Utah in the mid 1800s. Because both Rachelle and I have pioneer ancestors, I thought it deserved a mention. One of Rachelle's ancestors is a guy named Tunis Rappleye. Aside from having a first name that reminds me of the "chicken of the sea", Tunis was actually a really awesome guy and was in the "fourth 10" company of the original group that entered the Salt Lake Valley (Utah) on July 24, 1847. My own ancestor, Robert Taylor Burton, came in a little after Tunis and was one of the rescue party that endured incredible hardships to rescue the ill fated Martin and Willie Handcart companies.

Each of these men and their families left their comfortable homes and endured hardships that I have difficulty comprehending. I feel like I owe a debt to these ancestors that really paved the way for me. They endured all these hardships and risked (and sometimes gave) their lives to do what they thought was right. I have to admire that courage and that ability to stand for something so unselfishly. I am sure there were times when they grumbled but in the end, they made it and were glad for what they were able to overcome. I just hope Rachelle and I can live up to the legacy they have left us.

For more information on the history of Pioneer Day, see the following:


Speaking of pioneers, I also wanted to mention was that Rachelle is having another ultrasound today and we hope to find out the weights of the babies again. Although she probably isn't going to break the gestation record, she might actually break the record for baby weight. Check in tomorrow to find out what they are.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

33 Weeks Today!

Today marks 33 weeks and that means only 7 more days to go. Rachelle's mom thought that since she is doing so well, we might want to just go ahead and go for the record but I doubt we will do that. As we have seen in the past, things can change in an instant so we want to be ready for the worst.

Rachelle has been saying that her skin feels a bit like it is stretching to the limit right now. That doesn't surprise me because I heard that during the 32nd and 33rd week, the babies gain about a half a pound each per week. I honestly don't know where they are going to find that half pound from because she really doesn't eat much. Her face and arms are getting really thin. She is a little sad, though, because her arms have lost a lot of muscle tone due to being on bed rest for the last four months. She is afraid that it will take her a long time to recover from the bed rest. There are some women who have to go on bed rest for each of their kids and I feel sorry for them.

She hasn't been able to type very much but she has been able to read a little of Harry Potter. She is at page 250 right now but it is a real struggle for her to get in a position that makes it easy to hold or prop up that heavy book. She used to be able to sit up but she has to lay on her side all the time now.

A funny comment we got in an email a little while ago was, "What is it like being a celebrity?" Fortunately, I still don't know what that is like because we really aren't celebrities. I think if this had happened 20 years ago or if we had stayed in Austin, we might have been a little more well known there. We will see what happens after the babies are born. I am still very glad we came to Phoenix for this even though our babies won't be true Texans (as someone recently pointed out to me). The comfort we feel knowing that we did the best we knew how is very good. As we mentioned in early blog entries, we knew that by coming to Phoenix, we were doing the very best we knew and would feel comfortable with whatever outcome happened. If we had not come here and something had gone wrong, we would always regret not coming here because we would say to ourselves, "If only...". I have had enough "if only I would have (fill in the blank)" moments that I really didn't want another one. Now, we are at 33 weeks, well beyond the national average gestation for quintuplets, and things are going as well as we could have hoped. Just one more week to go and then the real fun will began.

Monday, July 23, 2007

8 days and counting (one more day until 33 weeks!)

We visited Rachelle at the hospital last night and she was doing really well. She was actually having fewer contractions last night than she had been having in the previous two weeks. They weighed her yesterday and I thought I heard them say that she should expect about a pound a day until she delivers. I haven't been able to update our progress page lately so I thought I would include it here. I need to take another belly measurement of her but last week's was 53 inches.

Rachelle talked with one of her doctors yesterday and the doctor said that she hadn't seen any singletons that had gone home with their mom's when they were born at 34 weeks. This was actually a bit comforting for Rachelle since she would like a few days to recuperate before the babies get here. However, we have heard of other situations where the baby or babies actually did go home with the mom. We figure that even if any of the babies go home with her, we will have enough help that things she should have some time to rest before the real work begins.

In other news, I thought I would include some more pictures. The first is from when Rachelle's brother Ryan visited on Saturday.

Also, while Ryan was here on Saturday we took some pictures at the pool. We got one of Riley doing a dive into the pool:

This has really been a great summer so far and I hope that it continues to be great going into next week:)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Update for July 22nd and More pictures!

We visited Rachelle again last night and they did an ultrasound. Everything is still going well and as of today she only has nine more days until they scheduled C-section. Here is what the big white board over her bed says on it:

As you can see, she has several daily goals which usually have something to do with the DVDs of TV shows she is watching. I imagine that the next ones will also include the final Harry Potter book which I picked up for her yesterday. The Hydro part is a treatment that is basically like a bath. On the previous floor she was on, the Hydro area was basically just like a normal bath tub. In the new one, they actually have a crane that they use to lift her into it. It makes her feel pretty silly and I am hoping we get a picture of the crane before she leaves.

We also took some other pictures on Thursday. This one was one of my favorite:

Nine days is a pretty short amount of time. I guess that means I need to start seeing all the movies and reading all the books I want to read before I don't have any more time. There is a real possibility that these babies won't be in the hospital very long so I better get going. Yesterday I went with my Mother-in-law Betty Ann to see the movie Hairspray. I thought it was one of most entertaining movies I had seen in a long time and I am sad that Rachelle didn't get to see it. John Travolta as a woman was a little disturbing at first but you kind of get used to it because it is really kind of funny.

Rachelle's brother Ryan is also in town. We took him to visit Rachelle and that was fun. He got to see the ultrasound although, to be honest, it wasn't that interesting. It is hard to distinguish anything in ultrasounds now. They mostly just look for the heart beats too so you only see some blobs and then some heart valves.

Overall, it was a great day yesterday and despite the fact that Rachelle is getting so close, she is really doing well.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Update for the 20th and 21st

OK, I didn't get a chance to do my blog yesterday but it wasn't because anything bad happened. I was just a little too tired. However, things are still progressing well. We visited Rachelle yesterday and she is still doing really well. The goal is still at 34 weeks and I still think she might actually make it. She had an ultrasound where they looked at the fluids in the placentas yesterday and everything looked good.

There was an article yesterday about the sextuplet mom that had her babies a month or so ago. The first baby went home yesterday and it weighed 4 pounds 3 ounces. From that, I think it is possible that Rachelle could actually go home with the babies a lot sooner than we originally thought. It actually is making Rachelle a little nervous because at the rate they are going, they could come home at the same time she will. Also despite the fact that she probably won't break the record of 34 weeks and 3 days, she might actually get close to breaking the record for birth weight. Already, she is way above average gestation time for quintuplets (which I think is 27 or 28 weeks). Today, she is also above average for Dr. Elliott's quintuplets. The strange thing is that she is in really good spirits. Another thing that Dr. Elliott confirmed is that if the bad contractions start again, they will not put her on the magnesium but let her go. This means that they could come pretty much at any time...so stay tuned.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rachelle's status today (July 19th)

I visited with Rachelle by myself today for about 2 hours. It was a nice visit and we discussed names. We do have names but there are a few things we haven't totally agreed on yet so I better not share them yet. I put a picture of her on her blog. The picture was taken about a week ago and she seems a bit bigger than that now. Also, just so you know, she doesn't normally wear all those fancy clothes because that would be really inconvenient for all of the monitoring and stuff she has to do. However, she wanted to look her best and I don't blame her for that.

Other than that, I don't have too much to report on Rachelle. She is really doing fine and seems to be resigned to the fact that the doctor isn't going to budge on the 34 week goal unless it is an emergency. She says, however, that almost every night the nurses seem to be on the verge of declaring an emergency because of the contraction issue. It might be that one of these nights might actually become an emergency. Tonight, I guess she was having contractions that were fairly close to each other and were making everyone nervous. However, I haven't heard anything yet so that is good.

In other news, I just have to report that Riley was brave enough today to dive head first into the pool. He first did it on the side but then got up to the diving board and did it. I was really happy with him because I knew it was a scary thing for him to do. Also, I was a springboard diver in high school so I felt like maybe this was the start of something big. Kaiya continues to swim like a 'fishy' but can't seem to keep her head above water long enough to breath when she is in the deep part. This means that every time she jumps in, I have to be right there to pull her up. It makes me a little nervous but I think she will figure it out soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back in Arizona

I arrived back in Arizona today and visited with Rachelle. She really looked great. She is a bit uncomfortable...OK, I understated that, she is a lot uncomfortable but she will make it. There is just 13 more days until the scheduled C-section. Normally 13 days doesn't seem like very much but now it seems like a lot. In at most 13 days, all of this buildup with come to a head and we will have some interesting new challenges to think about. It is a little surreal I guess.

Something I forgot to mention yesterday was that I was really grateful for the haircut I got from Cassaundra and the help that our friend Natalie gave us in helping get our broken cupboards fixed. Without the help of all these people I would probably have some sort of breakdown. Having all these wonderful friends has made this whole experience bearable.

In coming back to Arizona, I also got to see my kids again. When I talked with them last, they asked me to bring one thing, their toy light sabers. I am not sure why these were so important (although anyone that knows me well is probably not surprised that toy light sabers were a thing of great value) but I was diligent and, wanting to be a good dad, found them and put them on my desk so that I wouldn't forget to bring them...which is where they are at right now. Of course, the first thing that Riley asked when I saw him was, "Hi Dad! Do you have our light sabers?" That was one of those moments that is kind of like those dreams where you suddenly realize that you signed up for a math class and forgot about it until the day of the final. I felt really bad because I failed in the only thing that he asked me to do and he gave me that look of extreme disappointment that I knew was my fault. So, I decided that it would be OK to go to Target tonight and get some new light sabers. They are only 7 dollars so I figured it was OK. I got lots of hugs for this and now I just have to keep Riley and Kaiya from hitting each other and any of the stuff in Aunt Jeanie's house.

On a non-related note, we went swimming again today and both of them did something new. Riley learned how to float on his back which was a major accomplishment and Kaiya jumped off the diving board. It was funny because at first, she didn't even want to jump into the 3 foot section. However, after I convinced her that I would be there to catch her, she was able to do that and we progressively got deeper and deeper until she said she wanted to go jump off the diving board. Then after a few times of fearfully jumping off the diving board, she suddenly yelled, "cannonball!" and actually jumped up and tried to grab her knees. It wasn't a great cannonball by some standards but it was one of the funniest things I had seen in weeks. She and Riley are just so funny sometimes. It is stuff like that that makes me realize that having kids is one of the best things you can do to get the kind of perspective that brings long term happiness. Seeing them accomplish even something as small as floating on their backs or doing mediocre cannonballs off the diving board provides such a feeling of satisfaction and makes all the difficulties of raising kids worth it.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

32 Weeks!

Today Rachelle reached the magic 32 week mark! It is really significant because it means that the babies have a better chance then ever now. The doctor, of course, is still pushing for 34 weeks of course but I really feel good that we have made it this far. I had a chat with Rachelle today and she actually passed her first monitoring session on the first try which is something she hasn't done for days now.

Today also marked the last time I played volleyball for awhile too. I have always liked volleyball and used the play every Tuesday (despite being only 5'7") at the local Round Rock Stake Center (which is one of our churches in Austin). I hadn't played for a while so I decided that despite feeling kind of sick, I went anyway since this would be my last opportunity before heading off to Phoenix tomorrow. Two friends, Amanda Webster and her little broth Joey, came with and it was fun but I am a bit sore. It turns out that if you only play once a month, you get sore during that once a month. Well, at least I didn't permanently injure anything. I decided that giving up volleyball would be worth it if that is what I have to do. Still, it was fun to play this last time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Guest Bloggers Victoria and Linda

OK, I am going to turn the blog over to Victoria and Linda. I figure it is the least I can do considering all that they have done for us. However, before I do that, I have to let you know that Rachelle is doing fine and she is still not too excited about waiting until 34 weeks. Anyway, here are Victoria and Linda.

Aunt Victory here, Linda and I have had an extraordinary 5 days here in Austin, TX. We don't know what Austin looks like be we now know every nook and cranny of Jayson and Rachelle's house. Jayson has been incredible, letting two mature bossy know it all Aunts take over his house, possessions, and life for the past week. He's worked all day and come home to a TO DO LIST every night. Not once has he complained although late on Saturday night he was ready for bed and wearily said to us, " how can you keep working". We all laughed and then he went to bed and we continued to stencil stars in Riley's room.

We've met many of Jayson and Rachelle's friends this week and they have been so helpful and supportive. Our thanks to David for loaning us a van so that we could make Home Depot and IKEA runs, to Natalie and Randy for good advice, the best meal in Texas and a helping hand at hanging cupboards, to Liz and Bruce who also stepped in with last minute needed items and cupboard hanging.

On Thursday Linda hung a plaque in the kitchen, it is the word FAITH. That word sums up our visit at least for me. Jayson and Rachelle are an example to us of FAITH in action. As they have accepted this exciting and overwhelming responsibility they have moved forward with great Faith. We are grateful to Rachelle that she had Faith in Linda and I to let us help make here house a home. We know it was hard for her to be so far away as we attempted to make here beautiful new house into HER home. We have Faith that they will be truly wonderful parents to a much larger family. As we've met their friends and listened to their many enthusiastic plans for helping Jayson and Rachelle we have witnessed the Faith and Love they have for the Wilkinson family. It gives us great comfort to know there are so many here willing and wanting to help. We also have Faith in all of you out there who have followed this wonderful event. We hope you check out the Now to Help page of the Blog.

Before I go to bed tonight I would like to say that my sister Linda is truly tireless and creative and I've had a hard time keeping up with her. We both feel so privileged to have had this opportunity to help and also to spend time with Jayson. It was a joy to serve this family that we love dearly. Rachelle you are totally awesome and amazing.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Progress on July 15th

Rachelle is still feeling about the same. We are looking forward to Tuesday where we will reach the next magic milestone of 32 weeks. They have to monitor her almost continuously now because she is almost always borderline with her number of contractions.
Our house is looking great thanks to the help of Aunt Victoria and Aunt Linda who are organizational geniuses. I also have to point out that in my tired stupor of a few nights ago, I misspelled my aunt Victoria's name. It is actually "Victoria" and not "Victory". Like I mentioned in my last few posts, I can't believe the energy they have because they wear me out every night and then wake up about an hour before me every morning.

They came to church with me today and were really impressed with all the nice people in our congregation. They really are a great group of people that seem to be willing to bend over backwards for us.

Something that my aunt Linda asked me today was what it felt like to know that there are so many people praying for us out there. I have to say that it feels really good. I really like the fact that random people at work stop me to let me know that they are praying for me. I really believe that those prayers are a significant reason that we are doing as well as we are. Thanks everyone that is praying for us out there.

We are getting ready to send out a press release. The car dealerships considering a donation understandably want to see what the reaction of the press is before they really commit so I hope it is good. It seems like this would be fairly significant news but it might depend on whether there is more significant news that happens at the same time. A donation of a big van would be really really nice. However, if that doesn't pan out, then I am sure that something else will pan out for us.

Anyway, I think I am getting a cold or something which could be bad so hopefully I get over it before those babies are born because that would really make me sad to not be in the delivery room. If they really do push to 34 weeks, then I should have plenty of time.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Breaking the chandelier and Rachelle's status

Well, for the last 16 hours or so, my aunts and I have been doing more home stuff. It was pretty rough and I have to admit that I gave out before they did. Pretty shameful. I also managed to break a glass light bulb cover on the chandelier in our new house which was a bummer. I used to watch that show, "Trading Spaces" on TLC with Rachelle and thought those people always looked kind of exhausted when they were doing their jobs. Now, I understand a little more of what that is like.

And now for the real reason you are reading this blog...Rachelle is doing fine. They were monitoring her until about 2:30 AM last night and finally decided she was OK. The bad part about that was that 2:30 AM isn't a decent time to go to bed. However, she seemed like she was doing well anyway when I talked with her. She was just glad they didn't have to put her on the mag again. It is a day to day gamble to see if they are going to stick her on it. I think she is now big enough that she can't type very much anymore so I don't know if she will be able to do any more posts on her blog. The doctor came in and said that the goal is still 34 weeks. She asked him if 33 weeks would be OK but he said "no" so I guess that is that. She is just afraid that they are going to get way to big in that time. I am guessing that she must be getting noticeably bigger every day (which is something I never thought I would say in a public about my wife). Anyway, I guess that we are just going to push for 34 weeks but I will go out there anyway just in case.

A really nice guy from Australia whose wife had triplets sent me an email the other day commenting that he feels my pain. It is nice to hear that there are people out there who do. We had the pest control people out yesterday and I am really glad that we did because, like most new houses, this one has some bug issues. I went out and saw a bunch of dead bugs that were the result of the treatment they did yesterday. One of those bugs was a scorpion. Although, scorpions are kind of cool when seen from a distance, I don't really like them in my house (especially with a bunch of babies). Also, as we were moving the bricks out to the back yard, my aunt Linda picked one up that had a huge spider in it. The body of the spider was about an inch but with the legs and everything it looked to be about 3 inches. It pretty much made me jumpy for the next hour or so such that when I was picking up some bricks, some sand dropped on my foot and caused me to yell and throw my bricks into the air.

Today I listened to a podcast that talked about humility. I have learned that you should never pray for humility because you will get it and it will not come to you in the way that you had hoped. I seem to be experiencing dose after dose of the type of humility that comes in ways that are not as I had hoped. I often feel not quite up to the tasks I am facing. My aunts came in and did more in 6 hours than I had managed to do in three weeks. Every once in a while, I realize what is happening in my life and it almost knocks me over. However, most of the time, I have a calm assurance that it will all work out. So far, there seems to be many things that are just working out...except for the broken chandelier.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Status on July 14th

I was going to write the status for July 13th but then I looked down at my watch and realized that it was 12:10 AM and was now the 14th. Rachelle is doing OK. Right now it is a day to day thing. She had been having contraction issues all day I guess and they kept threatening to put her back on the mag. She also told me that for some reason these contractions felt different. "Tighter" was how she described them. So far, however, she is still not on it but that could change by the late morning.

The reason I am up so late is that my aunt Victoria and aunt Linda are here in town fixing up my house. Trying to do it by myself was just not going very well. I was actually embarrassed when they came over because everything was almost all still in boxes. Even though I had been here for about three weeks or so, it looked like nothing had been done. In just two days they have completely transformed the place. I think I need to put pictures of Riley's and Kaiya's rooms on here because they did a really good job. They also did a great job in rearranging everything to be in the best place. I had just arranged stuff so that it wasn't totally in my way but they have taken it and made it look great. My good friend Neil Taylor came over for the last two nights and helped me install ceiling fans in all the rooms. I think he even missed out on going to Sea World with his family to come and help me out. It was a huge pain and I wouldn't have been able to do it without his help. One of the rooms wasn't even blocked for ceiling fans and we had to re-block it without access to the attic space (if anyone wants to know how, they have a really cool thing at Home Depot that you can stick up there to secure the block between the beams without ripping out the drywall). Anyway, we have been up late every night trying to get it all ready and, much to my relief, it is really getting close to being ready. As soon as I have pictures, I will put them up.
A lot of people have thought I was in Arizona (which is really where I should be) but I have been in Austin for the last 5 days trying to tie up loose ends at work and get the house really ready. This time of year happens to be the most difficult time of year for my team (I manage the multimedia group at National Instruments). In particular, I would normally be in charge of the AV for our big conference coming up in August. However, I have to say that the guys on my team and on my friend Amanda Webster's web cast team have really stepped up and are making it possible for me to leave without being too worried. I am really grateful for that. Anyway, I am planning on leaving for Phoenix next Wednesday. I thought that if I could hold off on going out there until Rachelle was at 32 weeks, it would give her that much more incentive to wait until then to have them.

There is still a lot to prepare and a lot of unknowns going on right now but things are really starting to work out with all of the help I am receiving. Some things we definitely don't need anymore of are blankets and preemie clothes. I think our babies will definitely be dressing in style (thanks to all the generous people) for the first few months of their lives. It almost makes me want to have them a little earlier so that they will be sure to be able to wear all the preemie clothes they have. OK, I am kidding there. I wouldn't mind it if they were just too big and healthy to fit in any of those clothes.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Rachelle's Status on July 9th

First I want to say that a whole lot more people read Rachelle's blog - which is how it should be. I figure that many more people read my post in her blog today than have ever read my blog. That is just as well, because hers is much more interesting for the bulk of people who read these blogs since it is from the perspective of the person actually going through the trauma. Well, I think I am still going to put posts here anyway and this one will update you on Rachelle's status today (July 9th). They actually took her off the Magnesium which was a relief. She started to feel a lot better and can actually walk now. I think the Magnesium sort of depresses you a little and she sounded much more upbeat today after coming off it. Anyway, the doctor is still aiming for 34 weeks which I personally think is good. The doctor is just being a good negotiator. He has to start high in order to come out with the best result. If she can actually make it to 34 weeks, it would be amazing. I actually think she can do it. I told her I thought she ought to get the Harry Potter book when it comes out and see if she can finish it before the babies come. Of course, if too many important characters die (like Harry) then it might prove to be more traumatic and could cause the babies to come early. My dad had a suggestion that we should name the babies: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and... I am not sure what the 5th one was. Maybe Minerva? Anyway, I don't know if Rachelle would like it so I won't bring it up. Still, if for some reason they were born on the 21st, those names would be appropriate.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

My July 4th trip to Arizona

On the 3rd and 4th of July I drove to Arizona. It was a long drive but it seemed much shorter without the kids. I arrived and got to go swimming with Rachelle and the kids. She was doing well but seemed to be much more uncomfortable than she was when I was here a month ago. She kept tossing and turning in bed all night. Anyway, we had a good fourth and fifth of July. I was glad that she wasn't in the hospital when I got there because we were sure that she would be by this time.

Anyway, on July 6th, she "failed" her contraction monitoring two times. She normally monitors for 1 hour two times a day and they count the contractions during that one hour. If she has more than 5, that is too many and she has to re-monitor. If she has more than 5 again then she usually has to either go to the hospital or do something else out of the ordinary. Well, on the morning of July 6th, she had 8 on her first monitoring session and 6 on her second. The doctor was not available to make a call on the contractions so they told us to go to the hospital. I took her in and we were pretty sure that she was in for good this time. When we arrived, they gave us the bad news that she was going to have to go on the magnesium again to slow the contractions. This is the medication she had before that made her feel really awful. I guess it feels like a really bad flu except that you also have double vision (if that gives you any indication of what it is like). It probably wouldn't be so bad except that she has a whole bunch of weight sitting right there on her front side that makes it difficult to adjust sleeping positions.

Well, they put her on it and kept her in the hospital. As of Saturday night, July 7, the contractions appeared to have slowed a little bit but not as much as they hoped. They are hoping that they slow more over the next few days. They gave her some steroids to help the babies develop their lungs better but the steroids caused the contractions to get worse. She receives her last dose of the steroids tonight (July 7th) and after that wears off, the contractions should come down. I still think she can make it to July 31 which would be 34 weeks.

She could technically have the babies now and they would probably be OK but it would be much better if they could hold off until at least about a week and a half from now. One of the problems is that the NICU at Good Sam Hospital is totally full. You might have heard about the recent sextuplets that were born in Phoenix. Well, those babies are doing well but are still in the NICU here. Apparently, if our babies were born in the next week, they might have to be sent to another hospital which would be scary for us. However, I am pretty sure that won't happen. I think that Rachelle will be able to hold them off until the end of the month.

In reality, Rachelle is really lucky to have come this far without having to go to the hospital. The doctor told her that he hadn't seen any other mom be able to stay at home as long as she did. Many of the moms had to stay in the hospital, on the magnesium, for much longer than Rachelle will have to stay. Our good friend, Lindi Briggs, had quadruplets and had to stay in the hospital on the magnesium for more than 2 months. Neither of us can imagine what that must have been like. Rachelle thinks that she can endure it for as long as it takes to bring these babies here healthy.

Aside from that, the other kids are doing pretty well. Rachelle's aunt Jeanie has a pool in her back yard (like many people in Arizona) and Rachelle was using the pool daily because it actually felt really nice to get in the pool and be away from gravity for a little while. I found that during the time I was here, it didn't actually cool me off very much because the temperature here has been above 110 every day I have been here. When it is that hot, the water in the pool feels more like a warm bath. Despite that, however, Riley and Kaiya have really been enjoying their own private pool. Riley could barely swim when we first got here but now he can swim all the way across the pool as well as dive to the bottom of the deep end. Also, before the last couple of days, Kaiya couldn't even stick her head under the water but today (July 7th), she not only stuck her head under the water but actually swam about 6 feet! I was really excited but sad that Rachelle couldn't be there to see it. I am also sad that tomorrow I am heading back to Austin so I won't have a chance to teach Kaiya any more swimming.

We visited Rachelle today and she was in pretty good spirits but a little out of it. I think things will stabilize in the next few days and she will feel better. We continue to appreciate all of the many prayers people have been giving for her and us. We also continue to appreciate all of the other things we have received. I think we will have more than enough preemie clothes now. Also, because of a new found friend, there is a good chance that one of the local car dealerships might give us a van which would be really exciting. I don't know if it is actually going to happen but it sure would be nice. I doubt it will look like the A-team van but, really, who wants a black van in Austin anyway?

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

My second trip to Europe

Well, last week I was in Europe again. While I was there Rachelle had to briefly go to the hospital just like last time. Fortunately, this time was much more brief and she was out in just a few hours. Unlike my last trip to Europe, I actually got to see something interesting. I went to Aachen Germany and Ge,neva, Switzerland and in th first part of the trip I went one night to the church in Aachen where Charlemagne was crowned. It was built in circa 800 and was pretty interesting.

In Aachen, I was there to make a video about an application from a company called FAG. Apparently, in German, the acronym FAG doesn't have the same meaning when you say it as a word. Well, they were very nice there and I didn't have any of the strange light problems because I had done my homework and had prepared myself with European voltage compatible lights. The big problems didn't start until we went on our next leg...

After Aachen, we then drove to Frankfurt and flew from Frankfurt to Geneva, Switzerland. When we arrived in Geneva Switzerland, we got off the plane but my luggage never did. I had three checked bags and, fortunately, I had one of the others traveling with me check one of my bags (the one with the camera and camera gear). The bags I checked never arrived. To make it worse, I had accidentally left the little luggage receipts at a security desk in Frankfurt. These pieces of luggage had all of my clothes, toiletries, and all of my lighting stuff. So, again, despite all of my careful preparation, we still had issues. Fortunately, one of the others traveling with us, Darcy Dement, had a lot more European experience and a cooler head than I did and called someone we knew from Geneva and was able to find a company that, for some strange but wonderful reason, had 24 hour service for renting their lighting equipment. The video shoot in Switzerland was at CERN, home of the worlds largest super collider and was much more significant than our video shoot in Aachen so I was so glad that we were able to find something that worked. I think we were really lucky to find a lighting company at all and one that offered 24 hour service (with a really nice guy named Oliver) was truly a miracle.

Unfortunately, although we were able to solve the problem with the lights, we were not able to solve the problem with my clothes. I only had that one change of clothes so I washed them in the sink (with shampoo) and dried them with the hair dryer in the wall. This actually worked surprisingly well but just took a long time.

Something that ended up making me feel a little better was that when we got to the hotel, I looked at the building right next to ours and noticed that it was a church with a familiar looking steeple. I walked over to it and, sure enough, it said (in French), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. On my last night there I went over to it and tried to get in just to find some comfort in a familiar setting but it was locked. Then someone from inside saw me and came over to open the door. He turned out to be the bishop of the local English speaking congregation and we chatted for about a half hour which was fun and comforting after the stress of the previous few days. I told him about my babies and he, like most people, was a bit shocked. Anyway, it was nice to just sit and talk with someone for a while and made me feel much better. I think it is amazing the way that God works to help us in our times of need. I decided that as long as Rachelle was OK, then the stuff I was dealing with just didn't matter that much. Now that I am back home, wearing clean clothes, and getting word that my luggage is, apparently, making it's way back from Europe, I can see a little clearer that it is all unimportant relative to how well Rachelle is doing. She continues to exceed the doctor's expectations and it is just amazing to me. For me, the events of the last few months, weeks, and days are clear evidence that there is a God and he cares about us even enough to help me find a little comfort in a church in Switzerland over something as minor as lost luggage.

Last week, our friend Natalie Woods went to visit Rachelle and took some pictures. Below is one of the pictures. I noticed that her face is actually starting to get much thinner but her belly is getting much bigger. I assume this is normal but at first it made me nervous because I wasn't sure if she was getting enough to eat. Rachelle was visited by a ton of people this last week. My Sister Alicia and her husband Mike were there to bring Riley and Kaiya back to Arizona. My uncle Larry and aunt Gloria along with their son Danny and his wife also visited. People ask me if she is just going crazy with boredom and I have to say that I don't think she has enough time to go crazy with all of the people there to hang out with her. It is just amazing to me that we have been so blessed with all of the things we have had and seen. We have received so much from many people who seem excited to get the chance to help us out. Without all of the help we have received from so many people, I don't know how we would have made it. There is still a long way to go but I think, based on past experience, things will work out fine.

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