After only four days of the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), we have quickly come to realize that for the immediate future, this place is our family's home. It doesn't have lace, smocking or Teddy Bears, in fact it has wires, needles and alarms- but it also has our baby girls, and for that alone it is our home.

The girls get their own 'crib' much like they would at home, but they don't get kisses and hugs. The incubators basically are meant to recreate the mothers womb, even down to the humidity levels.

Adeline, our first born, has been the slightly smaller of the two. She initially struggled more than Maralee did. To increase her lung activity the doctors decided to introduce her body to caffeine. Shortly after, Adeline's lung began to flutter and she was actually creating short and quick breaths. Now these are not the ideal long and slow breaths needed to be self sustaining but they are breaths none the less.

For the rest of the day, Maralee struggled to keep up with Adeline. Eventually the doctors gave Maralee the caffeine as well but she still seemed to lag behind Adeline. At this point the doctors believed that Adeline might be able to be removed from the ventilator and just have oxygen provided to her through the CPAP. It was at this moment that our first act of sibling competition decided to show itself. Maralee decided to pull her own ventilation tube out and begin breathing on her own. She couldn't let her older sister get the best of her at this early in life.

With that said both the girls are currently off the ventilators, which is such a miracle to even write! Now before we get too excited, know that they will have to go back on them at some point because they can't sustain themselves yet, but I would certainly call this an improvement. It is certainly a high point on this roller coaster we are about to ride for the next eight weeks. Christen has been battling a little bit of a fever, but generally, she is healing really well. Thank you for the overflow of prayers and support. Your words are more than just text on the internet- they truly do lift up our spirits and renew our faith!

On a side note, I have my 6th of 7 registration exams this Friday. Of course my perfectly planned testing schedule has hit a bit of speed bump given the course life has taken this past week. I could use some prayers in this department too. I'm not asking for the Lord to pass me, I am asking that he will give me the strength study even though I desperately want to sleep and also the ability to focus on the task at hand even in the midst of such a life changing moment. With that said, off I go to study.

- Raleigh