Friday, August 29, 2008

Upcoming Family Vacations

We are very excited because we have 2 upcoming family vacations planned. The first we will be going to Ocean City Monday September 8 after Ben gets off work until Thursday evening. I grew up going to OC every year and can't wait to start taking the boys as well. We will be staying at a time-share which is located at 1st Street and the Boardwalk; the same place I stayed when I would go as a kid. Batman will be staying at Dogwood while we are away.

The second trip is planned for January 12 - 21 and we will be flying to Florida and staying with my mom. She flies us down there once a year and we usually try to go in January or February. This year we will be going to Disney (probably 2 days). This will be the boys' second trip to my mom's house, but their first time to Disney.

We are also planning to go to the MD Renaissance Fair the end of September with Tracy & Dave. Ben and the boys have never been so that will be fun as well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Results Are In...

The pediatrician called this morning to let us know that Zak's sweat test came back normal. This is such a relief and good to know that he does not have CF.

We are still waiting to hear from the geneticist about all of Ryder's test results.

This morning after the boys ate breakfast we went for a walk and to the playground. They loved getting in the baby swing together, but probably won't fit in there at the same time for much longer. Here are a few pictures from the playground....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Few Updates

Today Zak had his sweat test which is the test for Cystic Fibrosis. The pulmonologist wanted to have this test done to rule it out just because Zak had wheezing and asthma issues so early and with being a preemie. The results will be sent to the doctor and then we should hear from them. Keeping our fingers crossed it comes back negative!

Ryder is doing great today after his surgery yesterday. He has not been overly cranky or anything. He is such a trooper. We have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon in 1 month and hopefully that will be the last of seeing the surgeon. And now for the really BIG news....Ryder is crawling!! He is now mobile. He has not mastered it, but he is now able to crawl. I will try to get a video of him crawling soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ryder's Surgery

Today was the big day. Ben, Ryder, and I were at the hospital at 6:30am while Zak was still sleeping at home with Dave. His surgery was at 7:30am and went great. He also woke up from the anesthesia very well so his recovery time was pretty quick. We are now home and he is napping (which I will be doing shortly also). The surgeon said everything went great and he should recovery very well. He has no real restrictions, just whatever seems to hurt he should not do. He is allowed to take a quick 5-minute bath daily for the first week and then can go back to normal baths. Here are a few pictures from today.
Ryder in his gown and slippers

Ryder with his blanket

Ryder at home and still out of it

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Date Night (and pictures)

Tonight Ben and I were able to get out alone for a date night! Tracy & Dave watched the boys and put them down for bed. Ben and I went to see Hellboy II and then had dinner at Damons. It was definitely nice to get out and see a movie. The last time we went to a movie was when I was about 14 weeks pregnant with the boys.

Tomorrow I am going to try and take the boys out to do something. I am thinking either going to the park or going to downtown Annapolis just to get out of the house since Ryder will not be able to get out next week.

And lastly, here are some recent pictures of the boys....

Zak in Batman's crate (he did it himself)

Tracy with the boys

Dave and Zak

Zak and Bandit


Friday, August 22, 2008

Milk Issues

As I posted earlier the boys have been having some nasty poop and gas issues. This afternoon I took them to the pediatrician and she says that it is definitely a lactose issue. So we are going to switch them to Lactose-Free milk in the hopes of solving the poop issues. The pediatrician also said that their diaper rash has turned into a yeast infection, but that is pretty common. So tonight we will start using Lotrimin on them and it should clear up quickly.

Also, we got a call from the hospital today and Ryder's surgery is at 8:20am on Monday. We need to be there at 6:30am to get him registered and everything. The surgery should be between 2 and 3 hours, but not sure how long his recovery time will be.

Today I took Ryder back to the lab to have his blood drawn. They got in the new smaller needles so I was hopeful it would work. Luckily, the same person was working today that had tried to draw his blood last week and she was great. They called us back immediately which was nice since there was a 45 minute wait otherwise! The new needles worked great for Ryder. She had to poke him twice (once in each arm), but was able to get enough blood for all of his tests (lead, CBC, chromosome). It was so odd though because Ryder only whined a bit when they put the first needle in and then just sat in my lap looking around. Then he cried full out when she took the last needle out and put the bandage on. Last time he screamed the whole time so this time was so much better. He of course fell asleep on the 10 minute car ride home.

I have a call put in to the pediatrician's office to talk to a nurse. We are thinking both boys are having an issue with the milk that they have now transitioned to. I will keep the gross details to a minimum and just say their poop is yellow, runny, and smells SO bad! They also have had bad gas and a persistent diaper rash. They are not acting sick so I am pretty sure it isn't another virus, but I will update once we know more.

I am still waiting for a call from the hospital to let me know what time Ryder's surgery is on Monday morning. It will probably be pretty early in the morning though. Ben has off from work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week which will be nice since Ryder will be recovering from the surgery. Also, Zak has his sweat test scheduled for Tuesday morning next week.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ryder's MRI

This morning Ryder and I had a very early morning! We got to the hospital at 5:30am for his brain MRI. We got checked in pretty quickly and saw the nurse, pediatrician, and anesthesiologist over the next hour or so. They were running a little behind, but we were finally taken to the MRI room around 8am (scheduled for 7:30am). They let me hold him while he was falling asleep and then I laid him down on the table and had to go back to the waiting room. Once he was asleep they put an IV in and then did the MRI. I was called back to recovery at 9:10am and we were home by 10am. He is doing good, just a little cranky. The results will be sent to the pediatrician and geneticist within the next few days.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chelley's Baby Shower

Today the boys and I went to my grandparent's house to host Chelley's baby shower. This has been a much anticipated day since the gender of Baby "V" was going to be announced. The boys took a short nap during the presents, but were pretty well-behaved while they were awake. Of course there were plenty of people there to entertain them which was nice. And the big news which some of you have been waiting for.....IT'S A GIRL!! Her name is Madelyn Anne Vukmanic. To be honest I did not even ask how she is going to spell it, so the spelling might be wrong. They will call her Maddie for short. Here are a few pictures from the shower....

Chelley with some college friends

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Mini Vacation

We packed up and went to Easton, MD for a few days this week. It was a mini vacation for the 4 of us; always nice to get away even for just a few days. Tracy & Dave are house-sitting and dog-sitting for Dave's parents and they invited us to come over for Ben's days off. So we headed over there Monday afternoon when Ben got home from work and we just got home tonight in time to put the boys down for bed. We had a great time and it was pretty much free except for the gas to get there and back. The house was gorgeous! It is right on the water and on a wooded lot with lots of privacy. The weather was so nice the whole time so we got to keep all of the windows open to hear the outdoor noises and feel the nice breeze. Zak & Ryder also had lots of fun playing in the grass, on the hammock and swing, and playing with the dogs! Here are some cute pictures from the last few days....

Breakfast Tuesday Morning

Playing Outside Tuesday

Zak playing with the grass

Ryder with his pet grasshopper (this thing sat with him forever)

Ben with the dogs

Ben and Zak

Ryder & Zak on the swing

Me & the boys on the swing

No Longer Toothless

Ryder is no longer toothless! Last night we noticed he had his first tooth popping through on the bottom.

Zak still just has his 2 bottom teeth.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bloodwork Troubles

At Zak & Ryder's 1 year pediatrician appointment they gave us lab slips to have lead levels and CBC done. Ryder also still needed to have his chromosome testing as well. So I finally gave in and we (Tracy & I) took the boys to have blood work done. Tracy stayed in the waiting room with Zak while I took Ryder to get his blood drawn first. It was so rough having to hold him and restrain him while they poked him. They ended up poking him twice and he didn't even bleed with the turnicit on! So they are ordering smaller needles and will call us when they come in so we can bring Ryder back to try again. If they are unable to get the blood drawn we might end up going to the PICU to have them draw it.

Then Tracy and I switched so I took Zak for his turn. He is SO strong!! Once again I had to hold him and restrain him while they poked him. On the second try they were able to get enough blood for his lead and CBC tests. So he is all done with blood work for a while, hopefully.
Here are a few pictures of them afterwards with their bandages...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Growth Charts

Thanks to some online friends I found interactive growth charts that I can plot the boys' weights and lengths and see how they are growing. Of course they are both on the low part of the chart since I will be charting for their actual age and not adjusted age.

Zak (weight)

Zak (length)

Ryder (weight)

Ryder (length)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Tonight we decided to give the boys a haircut. Their hair has gotten pretty long and it seems to always get food and formula in it which causes for some bad hair days! So we decided to give them a buzz cut. We used Ben's beard shaver to cut their hair. They both did pretty well for the most part, but soon got tired since it was very close to bedtime. Here are some before, during, and after pictures....



On a different note, Zak has now started to enjoy taking his diaper off! The other morning we went in to get them out of their cribs and Zak was laying there with his diaper off. Yikes. Tomorrow Tracy & I are going to take the boys to get their blood work done. Both need to have blood work for lead and blood count for their 1yr pediatrician appointment and Ryder has his chromosome tests to do as well.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ryder's Growth

8/5/2007 (birth): 3lb 0.8oz, 15 inches
8/6/2007: 2lb 15oz
8/22/2007: 2lb 15.6oz
8/26/2007: 3lb 3.2oz
8/27/2007: 3lb 4.4oz
9/13/2007: 4lb 2oz
9/17/2007: 4lb 4.5oz
9/19/2007 (6 week appointment): 4lb 7.5oz
9/20/2007: 4lb 9oz
9/27/2007: 5lb 2oz
10/4/2007: 5lb 12oz
10/9/2007 (2 month appointment): 6lb, 18.5inches, HC- 34.5cm
10/18/2007: 7lb 1oz
10/25/2007: 7lb 3.5oz
11/27/2007: 9lb 4oz
12/10/2007 (4 month appointment): 9lb 14.5oz, 22.5inches, HC- 37.5cm
12/27/2007: 10lb 13.5oz
1/29/2008: 12lb 13oz
2/25/2008 (6 month appointment): 14lb 12.5oz, 24inches, HC- 40.5cm
3/3/2008: 15lb 2oz
4/14/2008: 16lb 15.5oz
5/28/2008 (9 month appointment): 16lb 10oz, 27.75inches, HC- 42cm
8/6/2008 (1 year appointment): 18lb 4oz, 28.6inches, HC- 42.8cm

Zak's Growth

I wanted to transfer all of his weights and lengths that have been recorded on the totsite so I can keep updating them on here.

8/5/2007 (Birth): 4lb 2oz, 17 inches
8/6/2007: 4lb 1oz
8/22/2007: 4lb 1.8oz
8/26/2007: 4lb 6.4oz
8/27/2007: 4lb 6.6oz
9/13/2007: 5lb 0.5oz
9/15/2007: 5lb 4.5oz
9/17/2007: 5lb 8oz
9/19/2007 (6 week appointment): 5lb 10oz
9/27/2007: 6lb 8oz
10/4/2007: 7lb 4.5oz
10/9/2007 (2 month appointment): 7lb 10oz, 20.5 inches, HC- 36cm
10/18/2007: 8lb 5oz
10/25/2007: 8lb 11oz
11/27/2007: 10lb 9.5oz
12/10/2007 (4 month appointment): 11lb 6.5oz, 22.75inches, HC- 39.5cm
12/27/2007: 12lb 3oz
1/29/2008: 14lb 1oz
2/25/2008 (6 month appointment): 16lb, 25.6inches, HC- 42.5cm
3/3/2008: 16lb 6oz
3/8/2008: 16lb 10oz
5/16/2008 (9 month appointment): 18lb 7.5oz, 27inches, HC- 44cm
8/6/2008 (1yr appointment): 19lb 1oz, 28.6inches, HC- 44.6cm

1 Year Pediatrician Appointment

Today Zak & Ryder had their 1 year pediatrician appointment. The ped is very happy with their progress and growth. We have been the OK to switch them over to whole milk so we will slowly use up the remaining formula and get them switched over.

Today Zak was 28.6 inches, 19lbs 1oz and his head circumference was 44.6cm. He was 20% for length, 5% for weight, and 8% for head circumference. He got 3 vaccines today (Prevnar, MMR, Chicken Pox).

Ryder was 28.6 inches, 18lbs 4oz and his head circumference was 42.8cm which makes him 20% for length, 3% for weight, and 3% for head circumference. He did not get any vaccines because we want to wait until after his surgery on August 25 since the MMR can cause a fever for up to 2 weeks. He will get his 1 year vaccines on September 10.

I am in the process of transferring all of my old posts from their totsite over to here so that I will only need to update one website.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What A Year

I can not believe it has been a whole year since the boys were born! This year has been filled with so many ups and downs. It is so sad how quickly the boys are growing up, I miss my little 3 and 4 pound babies. They have both developed into such fun little boys. I can't help but think back over the past year and I am just amazed we have all made it through everything, but it has all made us much stronger. Let's see, where to begin.....

It all started with a car accident. When my car was totaled so I have to find a new job. This brought me to work at Dogwood Acres which is where I met Ben. We quickly were attracted to each other and started dating. That quickly moved into getting engaged and living together (November 2006). In January I found out that I was pregnant which was a huge surprise. Little did I know there was an even bigger surprise waiting for me at 11 weeks...I found out I was pregnant with twins. The thoughts that went through my head at that moment were fear and "what have I gotten myself into". Ben and I then had our courthouse wedding on April 5, 2007. At our reception at The Melting Pot we announced that I was pregnant with twins and everybody was shocked! Then onto the pregnancy, what an adventure that was. I had to stop working with the dogs and move up front to a desk job because the boys were growing bigger and bigger inside of me. Then at 18 weeks we had a scare when the OB found I was already starting to efface. I went onto modified bed rest at about 20 weeks and had to stop working. Then at 21-22 weeks I was 1 cm dilated, I was so scared! I then tested positive for the FFN test which says I would go into labor within 2 weeks! At 27 weeks I started to have contractions and was hospitalized. They tried many different medications and finally found one that worked to stop the contractions. Through all of that I still had not dilated past 1cm which was good news. They were going to keep me in the hospital until I delivered, but I wanted to go home so badly. They agreed to let me go home as long as I stayed on strict bed rest. I was so much happier being at home and was able to eat better and stay in better spirits. Although the bed rest was very difficult. Things were going OK until at 30 weeks my OB found I was then 2cm dilated and she said it probably wouldn't be long before I went into labor again so they sent me home with pills to stop contractions if they started. At about 3am on Sunday August 5, 2007 I woke up thinking I had peed the bed. I went and changed, laid down only to find more wetness. Then I realized my water had broken and I was so scared! I called my mom in FL and my sister in CA to find out if they thought it was my water even though I knew it was. I called the OB and they told me to go to Labor & Delivery at the hospital. When I got there they tested the fluid and it sure was amniotic fluid. They got me admitted and put in a catheter and planned to try and stop labor again. But at about 8am they decided it was not going to stop and that was going to be the boys birthday. I was so scared, but knew they would be in good hands at the NICU. I was wheeled down to the OR with Ben that morning. At 8:41am I heard Zak start crying and thought that was the best sound ever, he was alive and breathing on his own. Then at 8:43am they said Ryder was born, but I didn't hear him cry. After a few minutes Ben went and saw the boys then came back to tell me they were both OK. Ryder was put onto a ventilator, but he was alive and moving around. The nurse brought Zak over to me while the OB was closing me up, I got to kiss him which was amazing. Then they wheeled Ryder by me, but all I could see what all of the tubes and a blanket which Ryder was wrapped up in. I went into recovery while Ben went with the boys to the NICU. He took lots of pictures and then met me in my room to show me. I was so upset about how small they were (4lb 2oz and 3lb 1oz), but I knew they were alive and in good hands. Everybody in the family took turns to go to the NICU with Ben and see my boys, it was heartbreaking to know I would be the last one to get to see them. If I had half a brain at that time I would have asked for nobody to see them until I got to, but oh well. Finally at about 4pm that afternoon I got into a wheelchair and went to see my babies. I was able to hold Zak and it felt amazing, I was a mom! Then I saw Ryder and was just so upset that he was hooked up to the ventilator and couldn't home him. I then spent much of my time in the NICU with the boys and then was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. That was the hardest day of all, I had to leave my boys behind. Thank goodness we only lived about 15-20 minutes from the hospital. I then made 2 trips a day to the hospital for a few hours each time. The 36 days that the boys spent in the NICU seemed like an eternity. The day we got to bring them home was amazing, we sat them on their bedroom floor then looked at each other as couldn't believe the adventure we were in for.....

Zak: Our first born. He came out screaming. In the NICU he encountered a small bout of NEC, but it was healed with antibiotics and no surgery. He also had the "normal" apnea of prematurity (forget to breathe) and low heart rates. Other than that he spent the 36 days learning to eat and then growing. When we brought him home from the NICU he weighed just under 5 pounds. Since he had been having the apnea they sent him home on an apnea monitor which would alert us if he stopped breathing. This did happen a few times in the beginning, but he did outgrow it pretty quickly. In the beginning he looked a lot like Ben, but as he has gotten older and lost the baby-look he is looking more and more like me. We have had 2 significant health issues with Zak in the first year. In February 2008 Zak started wheezing. We spent many days at the pediatrician's office, specialists, and getting tests done. They finally made the diagnosis of asthma which is treated using an inhaler and occasionally a nebulizer treatment. I am very glad we came to find the diagnosis and that it is easily treatable. The second medical encounter we had with Zak was in May when he spent the night in the ER at University of Maryland Medical Center due to pneumonia, double ear infections, and conjunctivitis all from Haemophilus Influenza non-type able. This was a big scare, but we caught it early and he was fine after 2 weeks of antibiotics. He had his circumcision surgery the end of April and it went great, no problems. Zak is now trying to walk, but has not yet taken any steps on his own. He has mastered crawling which means he is now into everything. He is such a good eater and loves to feed himself.

Ryder: My little itty bitty man. He was so small when he was born. It killed me to see him on the ventilator the first time I saw him. Luckily he was only on the vent for about 24 hours. Other than that he had some blood pressure issues at first, but those were treated with medication. He also battled a few infections during his NICU stay along with the "normal" apnea of prematurity (forgetting to breathe) and low heart rates, but just like Zak he also outgrew it after coming home. When he came home from the NICU Ryder weighed about 4 pounds and also was on an apnea monitor for a while. Ryder has a more in-depth medical history than Zak which we are still working on diagnosing with him. He was born with hypospadias, chordee, and ambiguous genitalia. We had chromosome testing done on him and found he has an extra "X" chromosome. At that point they diagnosed him with Klinefelter's Syndrome, but referred us to a geneticist. We finally got an appointment with the geneticist at John's Hopkins Children's Hospital. At that appointment they looked through his history and also did a very intense physical exam of him. After all of that they decided he does not have Klinefelter's, but they do not have an exact diagnosis for us at the moment. We have been getting testing done on him the last few weeks including a hearing test (which he passed) and a full body skeletal survey. We still need to get some more blood work done and he has an MRI scheduled for August 18. Once all of the test results are in we will go back to see the geneticist and hopefully have a better idea of what Ryder has. She said even with all of the tests they may not be able to give us an exact diagnosis. As for other medical issues Ryder has encountered, he got very sick the end of April. On April 30 he was admitted to North Arundel Hospital with pneumonia. The next morning we got a call saying he has gotten much worse overnight and needed to be transported to University of Maryland Medical Center so we rushed to the hospital (Ben's mother had stayed with him overnight). When we got there the transport team was working on him and then told us he needed to be put on a ventilator! So we had to leave the room while they intubated him which was so hard. We followed his ambulance to UMMC and got him settled in the PICU. As i stood there holding his hand I just had flashbacks to his NICU stay. They had him sedated so he wouldn't pull the tube out, but the boy was fighting it so they had to start using higher and higher doses of the sedatives. It was a VERY long 11 days that he was on the vent. Finally he improved enough to come off the vent, that was such a good day. Little did we know he would still be in the hospital for another 2 weeks! He was transferred out of the PICU and onto the regular peds floor. And then he was transferred to Mt. Washington Rehab Center to finish his weaning process from the medications he had been on. This whole ordeal lasted for 4 weeks from beginning to end. In that time Zak was only able to visit Ryder twice, it was heartbreaking! But I am so glad that Ryder is alive and doing great with no lasting effects of his illness. He is scheduled for his surgery to correct the chordee and hypospadias along with being circumcised on August 25.

These boys have definitely kept us busy in the last year! But it has been well worth it. Now for some pictures of how much they have grown.

Zak in NICU

Zak now

Ryder in NICU

Ryder now

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Yes, I am making a lot of posts tonight. The boys went down early so I finally have time to update the blog with past special events in the boys' lives. This is about their baptism which was on Saturday July 19 at Our Lady of the Fields Catholic Church. This is the church that I started to attend while in high school and then converted at (from being Methodist) and completed confirmation at. I spent much of my high school years at the church with many of my friends so this church means a lot to me. Along with the fact that my best friend's mother is buried at that church; so there are many reasons why I am strongly connected to OLF. The boys were great during mass and there were lots of people at that mass which was nice. The godparents for Zak and Ryder are Tracy & Dave Winters (very close friends that we are currently living with) along with my sister Chelley Vukmanic. Here are a few pictures from that evening....

Pictures from their earlier b-day party

I wanted to add some pictures from the boys' earlier 1st b-day party with my family. We had it at my grandparent's house and it was a pool party. The boys LOVE to swim so they had lots of fun. They also had fun opening all of the gifts and eating the cake. Here are some pictures from that day (July 16)....

Birthday Party

Today the boys had their second b-day party! This party was at Ben's mother's house and with some of their friends/family. We had another party for them a few weeks ago while my mom was in town with the rest of my side of the family (I will post pictures from that also). Ryder did not feel great today so he was not at his best for the party. Also, Zak has been sick so neither of them got to go in the pool which was OK because it was a little cooler today than it has been (mid 80's). They got lots of new fun toys to play with and also had fun with their cake. Ryder was more reluctant since he was not feeling well, but once the Tylenol kicked in he perked up more and took part in the cake eating. Zak is on the mend from his illness so he was all over the place playing and made a BIG mess with the cake. So now for the pictures.....

Zak was not happy with us for not allowing him to go in the pool. So he took it upon himself to find something to turn into his own pool....the dogs' water bowl.....