Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Darlings

I am now the mother of 3.

It's been a CRAZY 2 weeks.... I've gone from spending all day on the couch or my bed, trying to rest and not go insane, to going back and forth from home to the NICU... all while trying to still rest and not go insane. :) 2 weeks ago I got up in the middle of the night about 3 times to go the bathroom. And now I get up 2 or 3 times to pump milk for my little darlings. So many changes! So much exhaustion. And we're so amazed by our little babies.

I think my body knew that something was going to happen. All day on Friday, October 7th, I was so unsettled and emotional. K, through all of the complications and uncertainty of the last 3 months, I cried maybe 3 times total. That Friday before the twins were born I was a MESS! I couldn't seem to make Noah happy all day and it really upset me (granted he WAS being a 4 year old in a stressful situation and I think he'd had enough, too.) By dinner time, I had to excuse myself and went upstairs, laid in bed, and just cried. I think I scared Kevin because that really is not like me. Then we got Noah all settled and snug in bed and I felt a little better. I actually slept well and didn't wake up until 5:00am to do the usual bathroom trip. When I laid back down in bed, I felt a little "wet." Yeah. I just thought that maybe I needed to go back to the bathroom... I woke up Kevin and said something about how strange that was and maybe my water was rupturing... But then I just apologized for waking him and I ended up falling asleep for another hour or so. (Kevin got a good laugh out of the fact that I apologized for that) Then just before 7:00 I got up and tried again. This time there was no mistaking the unusual wetness after I laid down again. I woke Kevin up again and phoned the on-call doctor. She told me to go to labor and delivery. It was kind of surreal to have that moment there finally. I took a quick shower and we woke up Noah, grabbed our bags, and headed out the door. We dropped Noah off at a friend's house and headed for the hospital.

Can I just say that I had NO idea that the baby's bag of water could literally hold that MUCH???? I was sitting on towels the whole way there and when the nurses got me into the room to change, it just kept coming. Wow. The doctor did a quick ultrasound to confirm the babies' positions (little girl was still as breech as they come) and then she called my doctors in Omaha to consult with them. Finally, they decided that the best thing to do would be to deliver the babies and help them on the outside at that point rather than have me sit in a hospital bed for another week or so and risk developing an infection. I was not contracting at all. So we were prepped for the c-section and were taken in to the OR within about an hour. It all happened SOOOOO fast! I feel like we barely had time to call and let our families know before it was all underway. Poor Kevin... He had his phone and my phone and was sending out text messages like a champ to all our family and then our friends here in town. I was getting poked and prodded, needles placed and antibiotics started...

The sweetest moment for me was when I found myself completely alone all of a sudden. The nurses left the room and Kevin went to the bathroom. I just took that moment for myself and for my sweet babies who would soon be outside of me from then on. I just rubbed my tummy where I knew she was and told her I loved her. I rubbed his little foot as it pushed up against the very top of my stomach and told him I loved him. I prayed that they would be strong and come out fighting and breathing. I treasured those last little movements and the sound of their little heartbeats on the monitors next to me. I didn't want it to end, but I was so very excited to see them at last.

Waiting for the action:

Within minutes Kev and I found ourselves in the OR, waiting for that moment. There was no gush of water as they pulled Liam out. He'd taken care of that earlier. :) But his little strong cry was so beautiful. Very high pitched because he was 9 weeks early, but so full of fight. The NICU nurse stopped to let me see him and blow him a kiss before she whisked him out the door to the team waiting for him. Kevin says that Xiomara's bag of water came up like a fountain and her NICU nurse took a few steps back out of experience. Her little cry was just as strong as her brother's and after I blew her a kiss she was out the door to her team as well. I was taken to recovery and then to my room where I found myself fighting nausea until the next morning. While in recovery, I kept telling Kevin to go be with the babies, but he stayed by my side until I was comfortable and settled. Then he went to see the darlings and took a few pictures for me. I didn't see them until Sunday morning. Every time I would sit up I would throw up, and the NICU rooms are too small for the hospital beds. So I saw my babies at 5:00am Sunday morning when I finally could get into a wheel chair and the nurses took me down to them. They were so perfect. They seemed really fragile in their isolettes with the CPAP machines helping their little lungs inflate. But for being as early as they were, they were already doing fantastic. They needed the CPAP just for the pressure to help open their lungs completely, but they were not on any supplemental oxygen. Thank goodness for the steroid shots that they gave me at 24 weeks. Within 24 hours they were taken off of the CPAP machines and were breathing room air. Outstanding. And that was just the first of many miraculous milestones.


Just hours old and on CPAP:

Noah got to see his new baby brother and baby sister on Sunday night and I'm pretty sure that he fell instantly in LOVE... He and Daddy held Sia that night and then he got to hold Liam a few days later. So far he's been to see the babies 4 times, and we're trying to take him as often as we can without stressing them out too much by all the stimuli in the room. The NICU is on stand by from the County Health Department and they could go on lock down anytime because of RSV (meaning that visitors under 14 won't be allowed until Spring). So we're hoping that Noah stays healthy and can get a few more visits in before that happens.

Meeting Big Brother:

Noah and Sia:

Noah and Liam:

Holding Sia for first time:

2 days old - Liam:

2 days old - Sia:

I've heard that progress in the NICU tends to be like 2 steps forward and then 1 step back. There will be lots of victories and milestones, and some set backs too. But so far (fingers crossed, prayers said....) my little darlings have been such rock stars and they do better and better everyday. After just 1 week, they both had their IV's out and are off of antibiotics and any supplemental fluids and nutrients. They have very few apnea and irregular heartbeat moments now where they used to have several each day. In fact, I don't think that either of them had a single episode in the last two days. Each time I go, I hold them skin to skin and it helps me and them so very much. I LOOOOOVE those moments. So far I've been able to pump enough milk for both of them and I actually have quite a surplus going! I'm so excited that my babies are breastfed... I know that that's an experience that I've always wanted and that some don't ever have. I hope I can keep it up for a long time. They are still receiving over 70 percent of their feedings through the gavage tubes in their noses, but they just started to take milk from a bottle 2 days ago and are already champs. And really the feeding thing is the big hurdle to conquer. I guess it used to be that a baby had to reach a certain weight before they could go home. But now it's more what they can do and how they function. So if Liam and Sia can master the whole suck and swallow feeding skill thing in the next few weeks and they only weigh 4 1/2 pounds, they can still come home! :)

1 weeks old - Sia:

1 week old - Liam:

Holding Liam for first time:

Crazy hair after bath:

Skin to skin snuggle time with Liam:

Feeding time (they soak a big q-tip with my breast milk and let us clean their little mouths with it when they get ready to feed them through the tubes. Liam loves it!):

BIG smile for Gram:


Snuggle time with Sia:

First outfits:

The big moment for us was when I got to hold BOTH of my babies in my arms for the first time yesterday. The nurse brought Sia into Liam's room and laid them by each other. It was so indescribably beautiful... They sensed each other and immediately their breathing fell into synch with each other. Liam put his hand on her arm and it was as if they were saying "THERE you are.... Where have you been????" I know that they missed each other. They certainly know and love each other. I got emotional seeing them together once more. It was a moment I'll never forget. Kevin got HIS chance to hold them both today. Liam settled right in and fell asleep, but Sia just stared at her daddy and pulled faces. I think she adores him already. :) Oh, he's in big trouble....

So my babies are 2 weeks old today and I can't believe how they've grown. They are both now just at 4 pounds, but they look so filled out and healthy. They are wearing little preemie outfits while they are there, but the nurses say that they won't be in them for much longer. Yay! The miracles just keep coming with every hurdle passed and every milestone reached. I can't wait to see them again tomorrow. It kills me to have to leave them there each night, but I also know that I can call at any hour (and I DO... After pumping at 3 am, I call to get an update on them. The nurses are so kind.) and that they are safe and well cared for where they are until they are ready to come home to us. It's torture to have to choose between going to the hospital to see my babies and staying home to spend time with my sweet little boy who's so very patient. But it's not forever, I know.

2 weeks old - Sia:

2 weeks old - Liam:

More updates coming soon.... I promise. I will leave you with a funny story. Noah was with us in the NICU when he overheard the doctor tell us that the babies were being given doses of caffeine to help their hearts regulate. Well, little boy freaked out. He'd spent my whole pregnancy asking me about why I wasn't drinking my diet soda anymore. I'd explained to him that the caffeine wasn't good for the babies and that Mommy wasn't going to drink it while they were in my tummy growing. So when he heard that the babies were being GIVEN caffeine, he flipped.

"No, Mommy! The babies will die!!!!!"

Yeah, it took a little bit of explaining that it was good for their hearts for a little while to have it... he eventually calmed down. :) So protective already.

Have a beautiful week, K?