Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sizes and Shoutout...

Hey all,

Well we've been cruising along lately and we're keeping with our "normal" pace.

The kids have both had their little scares and have both had their little successes too.

Currently Caroline is breathing on her own without the help of a ventilator.  She gets oxygen support from a CPAP machine that feeds it to her through her nose, but is doing all the breathing work on her own.  It's a big step and a lot of work for our little gal.  Her doctors said not to be surprised if she needs to go back on the ventilator again a couple more times, but they said it's very normal for preemies to go back and forth for a while as they get used to doing it on their own.

Logan has had some lung issues and remains on the vent for a while.  Apparently little girls develop their lungs 10-12 days earlier than little guys do.  (I'm sure there's a sexist remark here that I could make which would get me slapped by my wife and mother, but I'll resist)  He had a pneumothorax (partially collapsed lung) for a while and is recovering nicely since they got it all resolved.  He's also taken a bit longer to get the ol' Vogel bowels moving.  Of course, when they did get going... the docs and nurses were impressed!  A chip off the ol' block he is!!!

Ultimately, both are doing "normal", with no major setbacks so far (keeping fingers crossed).  Mom is recovering well... almost too well as we've had to scold her a couple of times about trying to do too much.


Some folks have mentioned that it's a little hard to tell how small our babies are.  In retrospect, you're right... without some perspective, you just can't tell from a photo or two what 1 lb. and 2 lbs. 14oz. really look like.

So here's some photos to help you get an idea...

Here's Caroline with Dad's iPhone 4.
The phone stretches from her mouth down to her mid thigh if she were stretched out.
(Her knees are curled up here - not laid out.)
Sorry bout the headgear... they've got her eyes protected and her vent straps doubled up but she's smiling.

Here's Logan with the same phone.  He's (as expected) about 3x her size.
The phone goes from his shoulder to the end of his torso, as opposed to her.

So, as you can tell, they're pretty tiny... but strong.


My mother often reminds me that if I ever had any question that I married the right gal, it should have been answered when her work at Hy-Vee partnered with my beloved Kansas City Chiefs.  Through her work and it's opportunities, I've had the great pleasure of getting to know some of the folks in the organization.

They are a fantastic group of people and a world class operation.  (Of course, my love for the team may make me just a tad bit biased)

Imagine my shock this weekend when we were watching the game as any true KC Chiefs fan does - with the TV sound off and the Chiefs Radio Network blasting through the speakers - and we heard this shoutout from Mitch "The Voice" Holthus :

A great shock, an unbelievable surprise, and a true honor to have the birth of my children announced to the Chiefs Kingdom by the very best play-by-play man in the business.

Thanks Mitch!

We head into the weekend hoping to continue on our normal pace.

Thanks again to everyone for the wonderful support, loving thoughts, and caring prayers.  I'm a firm believer that it all helps greatly!

All our best to you and your families,

Mike, Melissa, Logan and Caroline Vogel

Monday, November 8, 2010

Checkout, scale, and a thought about luck...

Hey all,

First off... THANK YOU!

Thanks to everyone for all that they've done for us so far!

From the replies to the email, the notes of congratulations, the flowers, food, and thoughtful gifts... it's overwhelming the amount of wonderful loving support you've all offered and continued to offer us.

What a fabulous family and group of friends we share!


Melissa has checked out of the hospital.  The doctors have been by and gave Mom the big "Thumbs up!"

She's back to hogging the bed at home after 2 weeks of hospital sheets.

She'll still be spending a lot of time here over the next few months as she'll be hanging out in the NICU with the babies, monitoring their progress, feeding, and cuddling them.

They've got a great setup in our NICU room, with a nice couch, recliner, and free WiFi!  Also, they provide the parents of NICU babies cafeteria cards which allow us breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Well we were on a rollercoaster while we were on bedrest.

Little did we know that we were on a tiny little one - the size of the old Boyles Joyland rollercoaster in Topeka.

Seems daunting when you're 4!

Little did we know that we'd be graduating up to Kansas City's World's of Fun once we moved to the NICU

A bit wilder ride!

I'd like to share some advice we received from a very helpful NICU nurse...  "We hope for normal here. Steady is good.  If it's good or bad, there are overcorrections.  We hope for normal.  Normal is the best."

As our little ones begin to grow and develop outside of Mom, there will be some hurdles and some scares and lots of varying degrees of support that they'll need from medicines and machines.  The ultimate goal is to have them free from support altogether.  Getting there is the rough road.

The process of weaning them from support will take some time and often will follow the pattern of "one step forward, two steps back."

It's not going to be uncommon for us to have great days and setbacks and days of worry and days of joy.

All along though, Melissa and I are very comfortable that Caroline and Logan are receiving the very best care that they could get from a fantastic group of doctors, nurses, and technicians.


As I rode up to the NICU the other day, I chatted with another father taking the same trip.  Both our wives were recovering on the "Mother-Baby" unit as our children were up in the NICU unit.

He shared with me that his wife didn't like a particular route to the NICU from their room because it took them by the nursery and she was reminded about all the other "lucky" mothers who didn't have their children in the NICU.

I didn't say much to him at the time, other than a "I hear ya." dismissal... but his words stuck with me a little bit and gave me cause to think.

As I stood looking over the Isolette which held my daughter, on a ventilator, with a feeding tube and hooked into a set of wires that monitor everything from her heart rate, her blood pressure, and her oxygen level, it struck me.  We're the lucky ones.

We're the ones who are blessed to have a place where our kids are given the best chance to survive.

We're the ones who get to meet the incredible people who care for our children, guiding them through this early development and on to healthy full lives.

We are the ones whose family and friends have already given us such an incredible amount of support and who have included us and our children in their thoughts and prayers.

Then again, maybe he's right... they are lucky.

We're blessed.

All of our very best to you and your families!

Michael, Melissa, Caroline & Logan