It's amazing what can happen in the span of 7 days: Believe it or not, all of our little ones are off their CPAPs, no longer need phototherapy, and are feeding regularly (which means no more IVs!). The nurses put them all together last night for their first picture together, and today they gave us a print to bring home. As soon as we get it scanned, I will post it here, but I couldn't wait to share the good news!
Of course, this progress leads to the inevitable question of when the babies will be able to come home. According to the nurses, each baby first has to be weaned from his or her isolette (incubator). This is accomplished gradually, by first dressing the babies in clothes (check), then adding a blanket (check), and then turning down the temperature in their isolettes over the course of several days. Once it is determined that the babies can maintain their temperatures without help, they will be moved to open cribs (and that will be our cue that a homecoming is imminent). The babies must also be either bottle or breastfeeding at all feeds (right now they still have feeding tubes in their noses, which are used to fill their bellies when they are too tired to suck), be gaining weight, have no apnea (which none of them have, anyway), and pass a car-seat test (that is, be able to sit up in a car seat for the length of their trip home without experiencing any dips in heart or respiration rates).
Based on this info, I would bet that our boys will be the first to leave the NICU (no wimpy white boy syndrome here—I guess it pays for their mommy to be half Peruvian!), and the girls won't be far behind. Although the prospect of being in charge of these four tiny beings is admittedly scary, we are looking forward to settling into life as a family. For now, though, we must be content with precious moments like these in the NICU today: