Thursday, July 31, 2008

Camera Out of Batteries

I would post some photos today, but my camera is out of batteries and I can't get the photos onto my computer at the moment. Today was a pretty good day. The first one in a while. Jack and Riley both made some steps forward. Riley improved her feeding, and Jack was very alert. We will see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully more improvement.

We had the nurse take a photo of Jack today on the NICU digital camera. Jack was doing so well that we wanted to capture the moment. They were good enough to print it out for us and it now sits in a frame next to our bed. It makes us both very happy.

Also, my man Pete sent me the video below. I have been singing this song in my head a lot lately. Maybe it is because she performed it on Stern lately. Totally random that he sent it to me. I don't know how this song fits with this blog, or Jack and Riley, but just believe me that it does.

Let's Make A Deal...(Caution, Non-Sequitur Ahead)

Another day another dollar (at least in parking) at the NICU. I'm trying to find an appropriate way to convey what Rachael and I are going through at the moment. Perhaps what is most fitting is that if you read this blog and find nothing but mindless print about pop-culture, than I am begging you to assume the day has been shit. If you come to this blog and find all kinds of stories on the topic you have been looking for, then assume it was a good day. deal?

With that, I will write about Jaws II (my movie of the night). I have never understood how the Jaws series were (was?) so well received. Maybe it is because I was raised in the Midwest and have never feared large fish with teeth. The films are interesting to watch, especially the 3-D version which I remember seeing in the theater as a kid, but I still feel like I'm missing something. I do think the films were shot well. But like I have been told, and dealt with on many an occasion, you can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit. Lord knows I've tried.

Let's all hope for posts about little Jack and Riley soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Anniversary

I'm all about filler right now. Rachael and I are going through a lot with this whole process. I will post something relative to the title of this blog soon. I promise. For now, let's just enjoy what makes us happy. And I speak for Rachael too...we dig the same. This is our wedding song. A band we both, though a week late, here it is. Really, if you haven't already listened to this album, go out and buy it already. Your only a little over a decade late. We forgive you.

Monday, July 28, 2008

1 Week Today

Jack Looking Around

Jack with Eyes Open

Riley with Bottle

Here are a few more photos of Jack and Riley. Rachael and I go into the NICU two times a day. Usually we are there from about 10:00-2:00 and 6:00-10:00. Both of them have had their ups and downs, but they seem to be making steps forward. They are having a hard time bottle feeding, because they don't seem to be able to swallow well enough. They also gurgle a lot. They are both gaining weight now, which is good. Jack has been opening his eyes more, and is starting to become as alert as Riley.

We have no idea when they will come home. I don't think that is really our main concern now. We just want them to come home when they are ready, whenever that is. A couple took their two sons home last night, and the nurse, who was crying, told us the two boys had been there 109 days. We are hopeful that the little girl next to us will go home today, she has been there a little bit over four weeks.

We will see what today brings. Oh yeah, the photos I post on here are kind of dark because I don't like using a flash in the NICU.

Today is all about pop music. Levity.

MGMT "Kids"

Love Thy Nipple...

Jack and Riley both sucked on the teet today. Sounds basic, but it was really great. Baby steps. Today was a good day for both. I would write more, but my brain is consumed with Budweiser and watching Travolta kick ass at chess in Phenomenon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

You Are My Face (Wilco)

I was told once by my wise brother that Wilco is often referred to as Dad Rock. So as you may guess, today's youtube clip will be of one of my favorite Wilco songs.

More importantly, Rachael and I visited the little twerps (not to ever be confused with twinks) this morning and left feeling good. Riley breast fed for the first time, which made Rachael absolutely beam with joy. Jack was able to suck on his pacifier while maintaining his oxygen. It's the little things that count. I was so pumped to see jack suck on that pacifier. Quite a proud father. I was trying to get all the nurses to come look.

We will go in later today and hope for more of the same. We will see, but they made some steps. Oh yeah, Riley is done getting her "sun-tan." Now I can look at her without turning blind.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Coming home without your child (children) really sucks. That is an understatement. Being within a ten minute drive to the hospital where your children currently reside is a positive. granted. I have read a lot of blog posts from NICU moms (and dads I'm sure) where the parents are about an hour away from where their children stay. That would be awful. I guess this, like everything in life, is a matter of perspective. Likewise, I guess having twins at 35 and a half weeks is relatively good. And though I know we thought that having twins at thirty-five and a half weeks would be relatively better (see earlier posts from one eager father-to-be), and it is, there are still a few kinks.

Before we go any further, I must add that Rachael was amazing during her whole pregnancy. I cannot imagine anyone doing a better job than her. She is a saint. And that word should be afforded absolute gravity.

The last four days have been a series of extreme highs and lows. I think that is what every parent of a NICU child goes through. And, again, all feelings are relative to your situation. We have sooooo (look at the ooooo count on that one) to be grateful for, but we still have a few issues that are keeping us in check.

Jack has problems breathing, and every time he takes a plunge it is like watching your own life flash before your eyes. I'm sorry, but there is really no other way to put it. No matter how calm your NICU nurse is when they are getting your child to keep breathing, it isn't something that is easy to digest. It sucks. It sucks real bad. Strangely, the more your child decides to go into a "spell," the more you get more relaxed about the whole process. How demented is that?

Bottom line is Jack, and to some degree Riley, has a hard time breathing when sucking/eating and sometimes when just existing. It's normal, again relatively, for "premies," but good luck believing that when you watch it happen in front of you. F*&%. (sorry, but there really is no other word to express the feeling)(And, I kept it edited for the grandparents and those with sensitive reading ability).

We are back in Lakewood now, and although it is hard to leave without your kids, it is nice to get a breather (pun perhaps intended) from all the drama. I think it is important for us to recharge are batteries before we go back to NIC-Land where all you hear are endless beeps, and the endless deranged hope that it is not YOUR child struggling to become human. Again, F@#$. (Again, EDIT)

This post seems pretty high on the drama. I apologize for that. Maybe the Stella talking. That being said, Rachael and I are totally positive about the whole experience. I, and Rachael, are sooooo (again with the oooooos) happy with our little babies (of course). Usually when I'm home I spend most of my time looking at this site, and the photos that I already posted. Weird. They really are beautiful children if you all haven't already figured it out. They are also super resilient, and will be just fine. And when they do come to 1440 Wayne, whenever they are ready, we will be more grateful than you could ever imagine. And, the antidote please (cliche coming), home.

Here's Jack!

Hey, here is a photo of Jack with his eyes open. I have a bunch of photos over here at Flickr. Hope you like the photos.

Take Me to Your Leader

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quck One...

I'm home real quick before I go get some work done. Quick update. Rachael is still at the hospital. She will come home tomorrow morning. The babies will hopefully come home sometime next week. We will see. Riley is doing good with the breathing, but can't breathe and eat at the same time from a bottle yet, though she is getting better. Jack is still doing his, watch me hold my breath trick, once in a while. It is enough to give me a heart attack, but they tell us that it isn't that abnormal for his age and sex. He is doing pretty good though, and the doctor is hopeful they will both come home sometime during the week. Jack also got his cast put on today...poor guy. They had to cast him for his club foot. He opened his eyes today though, which was cool, he has lighter colored eyes than his sister, though we are aware that all changes. I didn't bring my camera home with me, so no photo updates. I promise there will be plenty tomorrow. I have taken a ton of photos. I think I will put a link up here tomorrow that will send you over to some photo website or flow thoughts here, i think as i type...tired, and we both apologize to all the people we haven't spoken with yet, it is hard to speak on the phone, especially since most of our time has been spent with the babies. Thank you for all the text messages and emails and comments etc...Keep you all posted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 2

Yesterday was quite a day. I will tell it from my perspective. Rachael can tell it from hers some other time.

I guess I should begin on Monday night. On that night, like most, I was sitting by Rachael's (our) bed and was looking through my blackberry pearl calender. I bought this phone on ebay a few months back. When I received the phone the memory wasn't wiped. In fact Rachael and I had a great time looking at the previous owner's photos. Anyways, apparently that owner also listed several important dates on his calendar. Most of these important dates were birthdays. Dad's birthday, Regan's birthday, etc...So anyways, I was looking through the calender trying to predict a day when the twins would be born when I noticed an event was already plugged in for July 22nd. When I looked at the date for the 22nd of July the previous owner had programmed this day as "Twins B-Day." Also, and even more odd, the listed time for the "Twins B-Day" was between 3:00 and 3:30. When Rachael and I discovered this we both thought it was pretty messed up. I guess Rachael wasn't too pleased with the thought of having twins on our anniversary date.

I went to work as usual on Tuesday morning struggling to determine what gift I should buy for Rachael on our anniversary. I got as far a lunch without a gift in mind and time was running out. While I was at lunch with Uncle Adam, we discussed potential gifts for Rachael when I received a phone call. It was Rachael. She told me that I better come to the hospital and that they were going to deliver the babies. I finished my pizza, went back to work for a while, and made my way to Fairview Hospital. I really wasn't in that big of a hurry, thinking I had some time. I guess I didn't have much time because when I got to the hospital they immediately told me to get dressed into my scrubs. I got dressed, they took Rachael down the hall, and I remained seated in a room by myself for about a half hour until it was go time.

I was escorted down the hall where Rachael and a team of doctors were all ready for the c-section. I sat with Rachael's upper half concealed behind a curtain. At about the time I took my seat I heard a large splash and saw a nurse move her feet real quick. Rachael put on a brave face, and in a matter of moments I heard one of the doctors say something like "here comes baldy," and our son Jack Dylan Kraft was born at 3:18, weighing 5 lbs 12 oz. One minute later Riley Lynn Kraft was born at 3:19, weighing 4 lbs 3 oz. Pretty cool. Both babies began crying in unison. It sounded like they were harmonizing. We saw our babies, they sewed up Rachael, and then they took her to recovery for about an hour and a half. I came out and told the gathering of relatives the good news...

Turns out both are doing well. They are both in NICU for now. Riley, the small one, seems to be doing better than Jack. She is in the NICU until she can start sucking from a bottle, which she is close to doing. She already sucks her thumb. Jack is also doing pretty good. He has a mask right now to help him with his breathing. They aren't giving him oxygen, just forcing the room air into his lungs. The doctor told us they should both be able to come home early next week. Jack has a club foot which they may cast to straighten out. The only other concern at this moment is their fingers may need some therapy to straighten out...but we are waiting to speak with the orthopedic surgeon about that one. Not really concerned about it.

The photos above are mainly of Riley. I don't have a lot of Jack, because he is hard to see with all the head gear he has on at the moment. I got the two photos of him above before they put the oxygen mask on him. I will have more of him soon.

This was really rushed, and I'm sure I forgot a lot of details. Hope it makes sense, because I don't have time to look it over. I have to get back to my wife and two kids.

Needless to say Rachael and I are very happy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More News Soon...

Jack Kraft born 3:18 p.m., 5 lbs 12 oz.
Riley Kraft born 3:19 p.m., 4 lbs 3 oz.
Both healthy and beautiful....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Radiohead, August 4th

Nothing new with Rachael. I'm getting nervous that I will miss Radiohead due to some baby-mama drama. It might be hard for me to skip out if the babies come too close to the 4th. Let's hope these babies get on with it.

It isn't every day that you get to see the Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd of our time. I think most of you would agree with that statement. Except maybe for this guy. But what he doesn't know about good music could fill a book. Scoff!!!


No Sunday Visit

For the first time in three weeks Rachael and I were without a Sunday visit. I thought we were in for one earlier in the day, but the contractions calmed. I think she doesn't want to go in anymore unless absolutely necessary.

In order to celebrate our first Sunday night home in a while, we did what any self-respecting Cleveland couple does on a Sunday night, order pizza from Danny Boys. I'm relatively new to this place, but check out this pizza. We got their macaroni and cheese pizza. It is macaroni and cheese on top of a deep dish pizza dough with potato chips baked on top. very good. very healthy too.

I spent the rest of my Sunday listening to Big Star albums. Thank you Rhapsody.

As always, I will keep you posted.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Give Me Leonard Cohen in the Afterworld

7:45 in the morning, watching Risky Business (did you know that Rebecca De Mornay was engaged to Leonard Cohen?). Woke up at 4:00 in the morning. Par for the course. Rachael had an increase in contractions yesterday. Again, par for the course. Every Saturday she revs up. Every Saturday night I get little sleep. Every Sunday she goes into the hospital. Every Sunday night she revs down. It is really hard on her, but she doesn't let you know it. She rules.

Keep you all posted.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

35 Weeks Yo!

Here is a shot of Rachael from her 35 week mark. I think she has seen every episode of World's Deadliest Catch (weird) and is SUPER bored.

The photo below is of our massive stroller. Quite a contraption. It is pretty cool though and folds up real nice. You can pop the car seats in and out real easy which is...handy? I guess it will be. That is what parenting magazine tells me anyways. Parenting magazine also taught me how to be polite if someone tells you they just had a miscarriage, divorce, or lost a loved one. Thanks Parenting Magazine! Now I can pretend I'm not a complete sociopath! Idiots.

Who do they think I am, Small Wonder?

Varsity Blues...

Still quiet. Rachael is sleeping. She told me last night that the Doctor stated she could go 37-38 weeks. 38 weeks? I don't think she is too thrilled about that. wow.

Watching Varsity Blues and thinking how Jack is going to be one hell of a football player someday. If he is born soon we can check out training camp together and leave the ladies home. Jack is also going to be a good luck charm for the great city of Cleveland this season (11-5). We will watch all the Browns games together. Too bad he will watch them go to the Superbowl during his first year. He may never truly appreciate what it means to be a Browns fan.

And, I really doubt he will go through that awkward Steelers fan phase like his Uncle Jason.

Looking forward to more of this.

Friday, July 18, 2008


All is quiet. Rachael went to the Doctor today for her scheduled visit and nothing has changed. She is standing still at 3 cm. Usually Sunday is her big contraction day. I think having me around over the weekends sends her spiraling. We will see what happens. I wish I had more to write at the moment, but I'm feeling uninspired. Rachael is 35 weeks tomorrow. That's rad. She is coming closer to term every day. I don't think she imagined she would ever get that far.

I will now post the two most cliche youtube videos ever. These videos are old too. One could certainly argue that they are old and lame. I wouldn't argue with you. I dig them though. But hey, I also liked the movie Titanic.

Two Israelis who dig the Pixies. How could you not love it?

Not the greatest band, not the worst either I guess, but fascinating none the less.

Go ahead and make fun. Believe me, I will cut the fat on this site once I have something to actually write about. That isn't a promise.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

marathon runner female funny pregnant...

Well, I tried my hardest to find a smart and snappy photo to accompany this here blog entry (see above google search captioned in the headline), but came up empty. I came up with a number of strange photos though, including one that seemed to suggest that blondes (spell check tells me this is an incorrect spelling, makes me nervous, but I'm going with it) actually do have more fun. Lame joke. Where's the laugh track? I think I'm making myself embarrassed, I can't imagine how you feel...

So Rachael is back at home, in her familiar confines, sans bedpan and feeling good. There is nothing to complain about. Rachael and I both feel blessed (never used that word before) that she has been able to carry these babies into the middle of the 34th week. All kidding aside, she has done a great job and is truly amazing.

Now. Pause. breathe. Let the sentimental moment take hold.

This is the band that I want to leave Rachael abandoned and bedridden to see tomorrow night at the Grog. I wish I was heartless enough to do it.


I have wanted to see this band for years. Sacrifice.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Got Them Fairview Blues...

Hey, as many of you know, Rachael and I went BACK to the hospital Sunday night. We went in around 9:00 and they immediately started talking c-section. Rachael signed all the consent forms and even signed the form to have poor Jack's foreskin removed. All seemed on target for delivery that night. At last though, it was not meant to be. The doctor decided to push back the labor by giving Rachael some turbutiline. Eventually the contractions subsided, though Rachael dilated to 3 cm. So when the morning came, the Doctor told us they would do an ultrasound, check their weights (Jack is 5.12 and Riley is 4.10) and check their lungs. The lung test never came. The ultrasound went to their liking. Long story short, now it looks like Rachael will be returning home tomorrow morning/afternoon. They were going to keep her in the hospital until she delivered based on the fact that Jack was breech and they were concerned her water would break and something with the chord etc...but the ultrasound revealed that Jack isn't breach anymore and now the risk isn't so high with this whole potential chord issue and as long as Rachael hasn't dilated any further by tomorrow, they will ship her back to 1440 Wayne Ave. Although we both realize this is actually a good thing, and every day they spend inside Rachael is better for them, it is hard not to get a little frustrated with the whole process. Kind of exhausting. Can you believe I'm bitching about exhaustion already? Anyways, Rachael has to pee in a bedpan. I guess you can consider that the highlight of her day. She isn't too thrilled about it.

Well, I'm writing this on my brief reprieve from the hospital. Writing this "blog" makes me feel like Doogie Howser signing off at the end of the show...keep you all posted.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

All Quiet

This is the first uneventful weekend we have had in the last 4-5 weeks. No hospital visits, and it is already Sunday afternoon. The two babies are moving around like crazy though, and she has contractions about every 10 minutes, reportedly big ones too. I can't tell if she is any bigger this week.

And, just because she is one of my absolute favorites, here are some Joanna Newsom videos:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

34 Weeks

Rachael has finally made it to thirty-four weeks. From this point forward the doctors will not attempt to prevent labor by shooting her up with more medicine. The doctors are apparently satisfied that she has come far enough. It is early in the morning and she is already acting up with fairly regular contractions. It would be great if she goes this weekend so I can get out of my trials for next week and start my six-week "vacation."

I re-discovered Fu Manchu's album The Action is Go today. Good stoner rock album. Just one of the many benefits of signing up with Rhapsody. I used to listen to this album in Missoula a lot, and I think some dope fiend stole it out of my car during one of the many times my car was broken into in that city. In other Missoula news (Jen and Margaret) how crazy is it that Mt. Sentinel was burning?

Hopefully I will have photos to post on here soon that are of more interest. Maybe I will at least get one of Rachael later on...

Monday, July 7, 2008

33 Weeks and 2 days...

Rachael and I spent another glorious day at Fairview Hospital yesterday. I think we can both agree that it is really annoying, even if necessary. They hooked her up to all the monitors and had her lay there for about six hours. They shot her up with a bunch of drugs that had little to no effect and then claimed they calmed the contractions and let her go home. So far the contractions aren't doing much, so I think she will make it past 34 weeks.

Got our co-sleeper in the mail today. That rules, I guess. Never thought co-sleepers would "rule," but I guess they do. Easy to set up and doubles as a pack n play.

On another note, the new Beck album came out. Good album, I typically force feed music on Rachael now that I have a captive listener. Another one that I have been pushing lately is M83, Saturday=Youth. The whole album reminds me of, and you will read this in about every review of the album, every 80's movie you have ever seen.

graveyard girl, M83

Sunday, July 6, 2008

33 Weeks (Larger and in Charger)

Rachael reached thirty-three weeks yesterday. We are shooting for thirty-four weeks, but she may burst at any moment. We have her bag packed. We are also well acquainted with Fairview Hospital and its staff at this point. We will keep you all posted.

And, because I have to find some way to incorporate music into this blog, this post provided while listening to Times New Viking. Ohio really is home to Lo-Fi.