Thursday, January 28, 2010

Welcome Home

The boys came home on Wednesday after only two weeks at the hospital – unheard of for 34-weekers.

We stuffed them into the car after figuring out how the car seats work and took the scenic route home, taking every opportunity for a short pitstop to show them off before hitting Nana’s house on Higgins Beach. We stopped by Great Nana’s house where she rocked Dylan to sleep before we finished the last leg of trip and also stopped by the IGA where they were paid lots of attention by shoppers.

They got lots of hugs and kisses when they arrived and a few sniffs from Pumpkin and Yoda.

After a pretty relaxed first night, we dressed them up today in tie-dyes and yoga pants (thanks Tim and Lindy!!) and took them for a stroll down to the ocean during the light snow flurries.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Proud Grandparents Are We!

Sandra and Valerie (Nana and Mimi)

Gary and Priscilla (Grampa and Nana)

Great Grampa and Dylan

Great Gram and Dylan

Sandra and Dylan

Mom and Laird

Laird and I snuggling

My boys and I

Proud Dad

Great Nana and Dylan

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy 1 Week Birthday Laird and Dylan!

Our Little Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Thank you Auntie Lindy!

Today our babies are 1 week old. And like any parent would say, they have changed so much since we met them.

Here is an update on the boys… They are thriving in the NICU. Both boys have been breathing room air since they were born and have not needed a breathing tube. Yesterday, to our surprise, Rich and I found our boys in bassinettes rather than the incubators/isolettes. That means that the boys are now able to regulate their temperature. Both boys have lost weight and are now back at their birth weight; Laird has passed his birth weight. Dylan has had a bout of jaundice, which is common with new babies. He is tested every other day to see what his levels are. Both are still being tube fed as they still are trying to figure out how to suck and swallow.

The greatest news is that Laird and Dylan are ready for the ‘Step Down NICU’; however there are no rooms available for them. These two boys are so strong… We are so grateful.

Every day we visit the NICU we realize how truly lucky we are. Your thoughts, prayers, support, and well wishes have certainly made a difference.

Happy 1 week Laird and Dylan. We love you so much.

Update: As of 3 pm, Laird and Dylan were both moved to the ‘Step Down NICU/Continuing Care Nursery’. What an incredible birthday gift.

If only there were more time in one day.

I never thought I would ever need to set an alarm to remind myself to eat lunch, but yesterday, I did.

Prior to Laird and Dylan being born, I would often plan my meals in advance…always looking forward to every meal. I love to cook and have always enjoyed my time in the kitchen and going over recipes in my head all day long.

Now, we are lucky if we remember to pack a PB&J to bring to the hospital.

The daily schedule at the NICU is tough as the boys are not nursing and I am trying to be a breast feeding mom. So, every 2-3 hours, I am strapped to my new best friend for 20 minutes...Ms. Medela. Laird and Dylan are tube fed every three hours with Dylan going first and Laird a ½ hour later. When it’s time for their tube feedings, we change diapers, take temps, and I try to nurse them. They usually just sleep but I adore this time with them…studying their sweet faces. Then the schedule repeats all day long.

Things will be a lot easier once I can leave my pump, but for now, it’s quite a schedule.

To all of you mom’s out there: I have a new respect for all of you. Bless you. You are amazing. These early days are tough. I have never been this tired in my entire life.

The thing I need to remember is that no matter what, I need to enjoy this time. It is precious. I need to stay calm, relax, and smile. I will never get these days back…

PS. Today we managed to sneak out for a haircut but missed a feeding. The haircut was wonderful but I have mom guilt for it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The new Robeez...

Yes, if you're a new mom or dad, you know what Robeez are...the shoe that doesn't fall off.

Check out these eco slippers my sister made. They are just like Robeez but made from one of cousin Liam's chenille baby blankets that was in need of recycling. And the little bear appliques were created from the fabric she made bibs out of. Amazing.

And yes, these sweet little slippers can be made to order if you want a pair for your little peanut. What a great way to recycle special blankets or clothing for the new bundle of joy! If you are interested I can forward you her email.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some photos from the last few days...

Sweet Dylan

Great Nana with Laird

Celebrate! It's a Boy(s) cigars!

We love you Liam!

Dad with Dylan and Laird


Dad, Cilla, Nana with Laird (aka Grampa, Nana, and Great Nana)

Dylan with Sandra (aka Dylan with Nana)

Mom with Laird (aka Mimi and Laird)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kangaroo Care

Humans haven’t learned much from Kangaroos, but they have learned one thing: its really, really nice to hold your baby close.

It is also apparently really good for the baby. Last night, Dylan got an upset stomach. He was wriggling around, grimacing, and testing out his lung power with the odd yell. The nurse suggested ‘skin-to-skin kangaroo care.’ Kelly eagerly agreed.

The technique is simple. Just stuff the baby down your shirt and hug him.

This melted Kelly’s heart instantly. But it also made Dylan pretty happy. He got calm and quiet. His eyes were wide open for a while as he checked out his mom. His ear pressed down, honing in on Kelly’s heartbeat. Then, after a few minutes he fell asleep.

They lay there together for more than an hour and when we finally put Dylan back in his incubator, he was a picture of peace.

It is mysterious stuff, this Kangaroo care. In the late 1970s, a hospital in Bogota, Colombia introduced it religiously in an attempt reduce their horrific 70 percent premature infant mortality rate. Almost immediately, the rate dropped to 30 percent.

Doctors say the benefits of Kangaroo care to the child include… regularization of heart and breathing rates, reduced stress and pain responses, improved cognitive development, reduced risk of infections, normalized growth and increased weight gain, effective intervention for colic, and of course parent-infant bonding.

And parents love it too.

Huzzah for the Kangaroos, Oppossums, Platypae and other marsupials. We owe you big time.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Laird Robert Valdmanis
born at 2:46 am on January 13 at 5. 1 oz
Dylan Gundars Valdmanis
born at 2:47 am on January 13 at 4. 2 oz

This photo was taken 20 minutes after they were born on the way up to NICU.

Our family seeing the twins for the first time on the way up to NICU.

Laird Robert Valdmanis

Dylan Gundars Valdmanis

Laird's first diaper change with Dad

Mom and babies are happy and healthy. We are so grateful for all of your support.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


33 is:

-The age of my husband
-The coming age of a hobbit in the Lord of the Rings
-The international code for dialing France
-The mysterious number printed on Rolling Rock Beer labels
-The name of a Nigerian brand of beer '33'
-The atomic number for arsenic
-The number of miracles performed by Jesus, and his age when crucified
-Patric Roy's jersey number for the Montreal Canadians
-Larry Bird's jersey number for the Celtics
-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's jersey number for the LA Lakers

It is also the number of week's I've managed to stay pregnant. Two of my doctors came in this morning shocked that I am still pregnant... It's truly amazing to think that I checked in to the hospital at 22 weeks, wondering if I would make it to 23. I am still 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. It could happen any minute.

Rich and I are in waiting... We are in hosptial room lockdown... Wondering when our miracle boys will join us.

I am enjoying every kick and every movement of these two boys, knowing that it is only a matter of time...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Adventures as Womb Mates

Four times a day, the nurses put monitors on Kelly’s belly to measure her contractions along with the heart rates and movements of the twins. The monitoring is meant to alert hospital staff to signs of impending labour, and to flag any signs of distress among the babies. But it also provides Kelly and me a window into what I imagine to be a great friendship, full of adventures, developing between the boys in the womb.

Last night during monitoring, we saw the twins’ heart rates start to race – first one topped 170 beats per minute, then the other. The monitors were picking up lots of movement, kicking, swiping, stretching. The monitors themselves – plastic discs about twice the size of a silver dollar strapped to Kelly’s belly – were moving up and down with the kicks as if the boys trying to shove them off.

“Those boys are happy in there!” said the nurse.

Perhaps the boys were travelling together on a trip to the moon, leaping against the near-zero gravity in huge arcs through space, defending themselves against lovable moon creatures. Or maybe they were dancing together to an amazing tune that only exists in their world, to the rhythm of Kelly’s heart. Or perhaps they were playing a game of neonatal patty-cakes that was accelerating to crescendo – we’ve seen ultrasound images of them, head to head, hands touching eachother.

A few minutes later, they settled down a bit. One of them started hiccupping. The other apparently took a nap.

I hope they can remember their adventures as “womb-mates”. I’d love to hear about them. What does a baby who’s never seen the world dream about? What does a twin think of his brother before they’re born?

Whatever the answers, Kelly and I are getting the impression they’re exploits, squashed together over the past 31 weeks, have already laid the foundation of a lifelong love.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Waiting, Waiting, and more Waiting

Well, it's been three days since I have been readmitted to the hospital...three days since Richard rushed back from Africa. Despite being quite uncomfortable physically, I am grateful that we have kept these babies inside for three more days. The doctors have told us that each day we stay pregnant is equivalent to two less days in the NICU...

For the last 2 months, I have been in the 'nesting' phase of the pregnancy. I want to clean, but have nothing to clean. I want to set up the babies room, or set up our house in Africa, however all of our belongings are in a cargo ship crossing the ocean. I want to primp and pamper this pregnant body that has gained 35 lbs...but need to lie flat. I want to organize...something...I don't know...

To cure this nesting issue, I have resorted to knitting. And now that I am back in the hospital, I am in a panic trying to finish all of my projects.

I stumbled across a pattern on ravelry that I absolutely adore, although I have not been able to 'felt' the project yet. So far, I am working on my third pair of these adorable slippers.

The pattern is called French Press Felted Slippers by Melynda Bernardi and is available for PDF download on or The pattern is simple, easy to follow, and fast to make. The needles are size 15, which are quite large, and I used the Patons Classic Wool yarn which is about 5$ skein. For shoe size 9, it takes about 1 1/2 skeins, so you will have some leftover.

Here are some images below from ravelry knitters: