Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've received many inquiring emails since the boys were born about what we're doing these days and why the lack of communication through this blog, especially at a time when there is a lot of information to be had.
I apologize.

But then again, I don't.
Let me explain.

I'd like to explain to everyone what the NICU is like. I personally had NO IDEA what it would be like. I thought the boys would be born a bit early and they'd go to this mysterious acronym place and then come out all clean and smelling nice and ready to come home.
So, here is what the NICU is like for those of you who have no idea, like me.

First, a few pictures to frame the conversation -

(above pictures - Whitman on the vent)

(Charleston under the bilirubin lights to help prevent jaundice)

(Whitman wearing the c-pap)

(above - the boys beds, prior to being put in the same bed)

Everyday we go through 4 different sets of security in order
to get to the floor that the boys are on. After getting several wrist bands, heavy locked doors are opened for us to go into the NICU. We immediately put on hand sanitizer and walk past the beds of 6 or so different babies, including Kaydance, who was born at 24 weeks and is a crack baby. We pray for her everyday. There are around 40 - 60 babies in the NICU at any given time.
We approach the bed where our babies are at check all of their monitors before we even speak. We are allowed to touch them to say hello but because of the risk of over stimulation, a serious concern with premies, we only touch them for a moment. We touch them the same way everytime in order to get them familiar with us. If we see that their monitors have alarming numbers (low respiratory rate or oxygen numbers) then we don't touch them at all.
We set down our stuff and Doug goes and places all the milk I've pumped into the refrigerator after having it checked to make sure its adequately labeled. Every 3 hours we do their cares. Their cares consist of checking their temperature, changing their diaper, weighing them, and then trying to feed them. Two times a day I try and breast feed them. The other times they are fed through a tube in their nose. Immediately after the two times a day that I try and breast feed them, we get to do "skin to skin", where we take off our shirts and hold their little bodies against our chest. This helps regulate their temperature and is good for development.
That is, hands down, the best moment of my day.
It usually lasts for 30 minutes.
The boys both have 4 monitors on them at all times as well as a feeding tube in their nose. This makes holding them, moving them, changing them, or doing just about anything difficult. The monitors also beep all the time. Loudly. Many times the monitors are just faulty and the boys wiggle and the monitors just sound off. Sometimes, though, the boys stop breathing or their heart stops for a few seconds and the monitors sound off. You never know which it is so we nervously check them ALL the time.
Because most babies are protected by the womb until they are full term, they don't have to prematurely use or even develop their eyes, or ears, or nose, for example. Our boys don't have that luxury so we must keep things dark and quiet and unscented - very difficult things to do in a hospital and with loud monitors going off all the time. We've become very protective of the boys in this regard, for fear of them becoming over stimulated and not developing appropriately.

In addition to these things are the nurses. NICU nurses are mostly amazing. However, nurses are required to report on me just as much as they report on the boys. If I wear sweats everyday to the NICU, for example, it can be a sign of post partum. Any signs of post partum require that the nurses stay near you and your babies at all times. This means I'm seldom allowed to be around my boys alone because the sheer stress of the NICU usually results in me showing some sort of post partum issue.

Add in lots of crying babies, monitor noises for all of them, nurses and doctors and practitioners and lactation consultants and nicu parental support group people, other nicu parents...
and you can see why the NICU is sorta hellish most days.

However, its the only way we get to see our boys so we are there all day everyday.

And they are doing better. Now they are in the same bed and are actually in the NICU overflow, which is much quieter.

And because people ask - lastly, let me explain what they must do to come home.

Three things

1. breath on their own (check)
2. regulate their temperature (check)
3. take all feedings orally (not check)

The third one takes the longest and is what we are working on now. They currently eat about 1/3 to 1/2 of their feeding orally twice a day. They must take the entire feeding before they can be moved up to 3x a day, then 4x a day, then over 12 hrs of oral feedings, then 24 hrs of oral feedings, and then finally we get to take them home. The connection in their brain telling them to feed orally isn't even made till around 36 weeks (and they are 35 now this week) so the fact that they are breast feeding at all is really great. But still, they tell us to expect to take them home by the end of the year (4-5 weeks from now).


so thats the NICU and the reason for the radio silence

aren't they cute though?

(below - Whitman)

(below - Charleston)

Pray that they learn to eat so we can bring them home!

Monday, November 14, 2011

and then there were four...

Well its been a crazy week. :)

Last week at this time I was at work and figuring out what to do with my newly free Tuesday nights.
One week later I have two boys, a scar from a major surgery, am 27 years old, have spent 150+ hours at the hospital, pumped 45 bottles of milk... my how things can change fast.

Sometime soon I'll write down the whole story of how this happened but for now, here are a few pictures of our sweet boys.

Introducing -

Whitman Marshall Crabb (the younger and slightly smaller of the two)
born November 8, 2011, 3:48 pm
16 inches long
3 lb 9 0z


Charleston Buckley Crabb
born November 8, 2011, 3:45 pm
17 inches long
3lb 12 0z

Monday, November 7, 2011

pouty mc pouty face

As of this weekend I no longer lead the teenage girl's youth group at my church.

And it sucks.

And I hate it.

And I can't explain to you how much it meant to me to be able to work with those girls each week.

For those of you who are of a different religion (likely the majority of people who read this blog - all 2 of you) I'll probably need to explain a few things here...

The church I belong to is run entirely by volunteers. So, for example, my husband is the finance clerk. He processes tithing and cuts checks for reimbursements and so forth. Now unlike most organizations where you sign up for whatever you want to do, in our church you are given a "calling". This means that the bishopric (essentially the pastor and two assistant pastors) pray about what position to place you in and then extend the "call" to you. You then have the opportunity to also pray about this position and either accept the call or not. Having not grown up in this church, I have zero experience and only a very small understanding of most of the positions within the church. Hence, when I was called as the "Young Women's President" I had no idea what that was or what that meant. Thus, I also had no idea how much I would freaking LOVE EVERY FREAKING MINUTE OF IT.
there were probably times when I didn't love it... but I can't think of any of those times.

Seriously it was one of the best experiences of my life. The opportunity to help mold the future female generation of America? HELLS YEAH! The opportunity to do sleepovers and tea parties and go camping and teach them how to be strong Christian women? I mean, does it get better than that?


Quite frankly, it doesn't.

And just like a calling is extended by the bishopric when they feel so impressed to extend it, it is also taken away. This is called being "released". It feels, at least at this moment, a little like getting your heart ripped out of your chest for no good reason. That is if you enjoy your calling. I suppose some people accept a calling out of some weird sense of obligation or something and then bide their time till they get released. But either way, you just have to trust that the bishopric has received inspiration from God that your time is up like they received inspiration for your call in the first place.

My time is likely up because I'm about to have babies and leading a large organization of leaders and youth will get more challenging. Our church emphasizes family so much that they try really hard not to ever have a demanding calling (some are more time consuming than others) that could interfere with families.

But that's dumb. At least in our case.


I freaking worked full time and went to grad school full time and held it together. Why is having babies an automatic shut out?

And I think its a seriously poor message to send to young women - that you can't be a leader and have babies. I feel like I'm fighting this stigma on so many fronts. Does no one believe me when I say that Doug and I really are equal partners in this whole thing? That he will be raising these boys just as much as I will?


I hate it.

So I'm crying and pouting, and likely will be for a while.

And I know, I know. Babies will be great and maybe this is for the best and blah blah blah. But right now I just feel frustrated by the whole thing.

And I miss those girls.

And I know I can still see them around and attend their school events and stay in touch over facebook and all that.

But I want more. And I fear that eventually they'll just be creeped out that I still want to keep the relationships we've developed over the last 3 years. And creeped out that I'm not letting go like everyone else does when they are released. And I'll go from seeing them multiple times a week to seeing them every once in a while. And all that sucks.

And my next calling is probably going to be something like 'toilet bowl cleaner'.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

31 weeks and some ramblings

Yay for blurry phone pics! Also - notice how angry I look... hahaha. Honestly its because I was concentrating and I always look pissed when I'm focused for some reason.

I realized if I'm going to actually keep you posted on these growing developments then we're going to have to be okay with crappy phone pictures rather than fancy DLSR photos. I just don't care enough to have a fancy and flattering photo taken every week.

And sorry for the radio silence. I'm just not sure what to say at the moment. I have a lot of conflicting feelings right now. Like -

happy that the boys are still inside and growing
unhappy that the boys are still inside and growing

grateful to have a job and still be able to work
ungrateful to have a job and still be working

and so on

And this whole process has been so interesting. I kinda thought that I would have a lot more doctor's appointments and that they'd be really concerned about me all the time. But that hasn't really been the case. For example, statistically speaking - the likelihood of me getting past 35 weeks is really really low. However, when speaking with our doctor last week he said "yeah we'll see you again 32 weeks for a minute and then around 34 weeks and get an ultrasound and then around 37 or so we'll start figuring out an induction date..." Both Doug and I looked at him a bit incredulously, like, um... does he just have a feeling or something that I'm going to be one of the few people who actually go full term with twins? Me? Like, 5 feet tall and (used to be) 100lbs? We both sorta responded with a "oooooookaay doc, whatever you say"...

And not being able to really plan around their arrival makes things a bit interesting. Like, "Yeah let's hang out...unless we are having two babies and then we'll hang out later..."

And I sorta thought that by having some baby stuff that I'd feel more prepared to have babies... but I don't.

And my birthday is coming up and I'm going to be older and I'm going to be a mom. Weird. And people will call me mommy or momma and I'll have to think twice before I correct them and say, "No, my name is Jo."

Weird. Life is weird.