Sunday, February 5, 2012

The rest of the story

I think I left off with them taking Abby up to the NICU. Apparently she had a weird breathing pattern of a minute or something like that. Anyway they took her back up to the NICU and hooked her up to the monitors. I think they were saying that her blood glucose levels were low, too. So she was getting her levels checked all the time (I watched them once - prick in the heel and seemed like a lot of blood they needed for this test...). For a day or so she was getting that done. Finally they were happy with the blood levels. However, then they found that her heart rate was dropping every now and then (bradycardia). Sometimes it would come right back up, but sometimes they would have to go over to her and pat her back or something to get her heart rate back up. Her lips would start turning blue a little, too. So they were concerned about this and we did an Upper GI x-ray to see if she had reflux (which came back negative). She kept having these until Thursday night. Eventually they decided it probably was reflux because sometimes when it happened she would have some spit-up in her mouth. They started her on some reflux medications and since then she hasn't had a single Apnea/Bradycardia. But they wanted to watch her for 5 days before they discharged her. It was a very long 5 days.

When they took Abby upstairs, I was still trying to feed her. I was able to nurse Alyssa in my room without much of a problem. Sometimes the nursery would feed her if we were up in the NICU. She was pretty natural at it. There was one time though that I could not get her to eat. She was screaming and screaming and it had been like 5 hours since she had eaten. I finally called the lactation lady. She came in, patted Alyssa on the back, gave her back to me and she ate. I was a little annoyed that it was so simple, but it worked. I think we were both getting a little too worked up about it.

Anyway, I was trying to get upstairs to the NICU as much as possible to feed Abby and be with her. I put a lot of wear on that wheelchair. Abby was pretty good at nursing, too. She liked it much more than the bottle. But...since I couldn't be at every feeding she got a lot of bottles, too. Then the NICU nurses and Drs, started to get really concerned about her weight. She was not eating the supposed minimums and was losing weight (NORMAL!) I am really annoyed looking back. All babies lose weight after they are born. Why was it so nerve-wracking for her to lose weight for a week and then start gaining weight. She didn't lose too much anyway. So they didn't want me to nurse. They said that she was working too hard to get milk and that she was losing too many calories nursing....another thing that annoys me looking back. I had a great milk supply. Actually I was over-producing because I pumped like crazy trying to get enough milk for twins (my mom and sisters were never able to produce enough milk so I was really trying to stimulate...it worked a little too much). Anyway I know she was getting a lot of milk. But they were concerned because she would only go about 10 minutes for me. (which is exactly what Alyssa ate and did just fine...the milk was coming out really fast). So they didn't want her nursing. They gave her my expressed milk with some formula mixed in for extra calories. She was pretty hit or miss on the feedings. She never did take the bottle well from me. She always wanted to nurse. Eventually they let me nurse again but then always gave her the bottle after to make sure that she got enough.

At this point Alyssa and I had been discharged from the hospital and we were all staying at a hotel down the street so that I could bounce between the two girls. If I thought going upstairs and downstairs in my nightgown was hard, going from the hotel to the NICU was worse. I was still just a few days from the c-section so walking was hard/slow/painful. I could no longer go to any of the night feedings. Which since i couldn't feed her during their shift change left me only a few feedings during the day. The second or third day I didn't go to the hospital almost at all. I was so worn out and sore, I could barely move. So I stayed and fed Alyssa and pumped for Abby. We were getting pretty impatient with the Drs. Abby seemed like she was doing just fine (which she was) and they were going to discharge us with her on a monitor anyway. We can pat her on the back, too. But finally Tuesday (8 days...) they discharged her and we all got to come home. It was so so wonderful to all be home, to all be together. I could feed the girls and get the rest I needed. I do think that having to get up and walk around so much at the beginning did help me to become more mobile faster. I don't know though- I still have some pain with my incision.

Alyssa continued to nurse well but Abby never really nursed the same again. For a long time, I would try to nurse her as long as she would go and then give her the bottle. She now only takes a bottle. I miss her nursing. It is nice to have others feed her, too, but I actually like nursing, and I'm a little bummed that she used to be so good at it and then never went back. I maybe could have pushed her harder to nurse, but I didn't. I now have the opposite problem with Alyssa: she only nurses. I left her with Grandma and Grandpa the other day and she didn't remember how to eat from the bottle. She ate like 1 oz. She just chews on it. So we are trying to have bottle practice so that I can leave her if I need to. It is still a struggle to get past 1-2 ozs.

Abby never had any more problems with the apnea/bradycardias. The monitor was super annoying and after a couple months of it only going off because we would pull the leads out, we stopped using it. She is now also off her medication and has no reflux whatsoever (we did talk with the Dr before we stopped the meds...just not the monitor). Her brain seems to be doing ok. The MRI after she was born showing mild hydrocephalus but also partial agenesis of the corpus callosum. We will see if that finished developing in March. Her corpus callosum was only 60% of what it should normally have developed to.

That was quite the ramble (and I'm not going to read through it, sorry if there are any errors or things that don't make perfect sense, I'm trying to rush through before Alyssa wakes up). I cut out a lot - since we were in the hospital for 5 days and Abby for 8 days, there are a lot of stories. Maybe I'll try to put some shorter ones up. But this was our NICU. Not the best experience, but I'm sure the NICU never is. At the end of the day, we are so happy to have our daughters, so happy to be at home with them, and so happy that they are healthy and happy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Story...finally

Thanks Krista for reminding me that I never even wrote up my birth story! It will probably take a few days. so this is part 1 of who knows how many. I will try to finish it up before Krista has her little boys.

At 36 weeks I went in for my final check-up with the perinatologist. The goal was to see when we could deliver. My OB and I were planning on trying to go at 37 weeks. I was getting pretty big and had been on bed rest for a while (11 weeks). The perinatologist said everything looked good so we scheduled a C-section for Monday, October 10, 2011. Apple (Alyssa) had actually turned head down during that last week, but we were still concerned about Bluebear (Abby) and twins and so we stayed on course for the c-section. We scheduled our surgery for 9:45 am on the 10th. My parents and two of my younger siblings came down late Sunday night (like midnight) from Utah so they could be there. My dad, brother and sister were just going to stay one day and my mom a week.

Sunday night, we were so excited. It was very hard to get to sleep. We stayed up making sure the house was all ready, our bags were all ready and trying to make sure we didn't forget anything. I think it was close to 1 am before we went to bed. So much for trying to get a good night's sleep and be well rested for the day...

About 2 am, I got up for one of my nightly pee breaks. Halfway between the bed and the bathroom my water broke. there was really no mistaking that feeling. It would alternate between trickles and gushes of water. I don't remember how I woke Mark up but we then sat in the bathroom for a while discussing whether we should wait until morning and go in as scheduled. We decided it was time to go to the hospital. Despite all our preparation the night before, it took us a good while to get out the door. I wasn't having any contractions at this point so we didn't feel a whole lot of urgency.

We live about 30 minutes from the hospital and Mark was getting us there as fast as he could. I'm not sure how much was him being anxious to get there or that he finally had a good reason to speed and a completely deserted freeway to do it on.... We called my parents who had barely gone to sleep in their hotel and told them we were on the way. They walked over from their hotel and met us as we pulled up to the hospital. I had started contracting pretty bad during the drive. Starting from no contractions when we left I was fairly consistently 3-4 minutes apart....and they hurt.

We were given a room without delay and the nurse started going over my details and such. It seemed to take forever. The contractions were getting closer and closer and I was just thinking - where is the epidural?! My OB was not able to come in early so her partner came in to check on me. I was at a 2 and 90% effaced. Alyssa's head was either at a +2 or a -2 I just can't remember. But labor was progressing well. We talked briefly about doing a vaginal delivery, but I was already set on the c-section. Sometimes I wish we had talked about it longer and maybe I would have chosen the vaginal route, but maybe with Abby's head concerns we still would have done the surgery. Who knows. I hate what ifs...

Anyway finally about 4:30am I got my epidural. So wonderful. My contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and I was having a really hard time with them. They were making me really dizzy and I was a little worried about passing out. But with the epidural I could just feel the pressure, not the pain. I was a lot more patient after that. We were trying to wait until my OB could get to the hospital to do the surgery, but with my contractions getting closer and closer we decided to go ahead with the delivery. Once we made that call, I was surprised at how quickly things happened. Within minutes I was wheeled to the OR, it took them just a few more minutes to put all the drapes up and such. And before I knew it Mark told me they had already started cutting.

The delivery was also pretty quick. Mark was standing by my head looking over the drape (and taking pictures!). He was so excited. I was a little out of it. I had demanded that they lower the drape when they deliver the babies, but even so I couldn't see anything. They showed me each baby but that was a blur. I started getting pretty woozy and light-headed. I got to hold Alyssa for a few seconds while they worked on stitching me back up. Mark left with the girls. I remember at one point hearing them counting over and over to 20 or 22. I, confused, asked Mark what they were doing... well they were counting how many blood soaked rags were used during the surgery. Needless to point out- I lost a lot of blood. I was pretty pale and light headed for a couple days.

I don't really remember being wheeled to recovery. I remember realizing I was there. Eventually Mark came back and brought me Abby. We decided on their names (who was who). And then Mark left again to go with the girls to the NICU. Since they were so little ( 5 lbs and 5 lbs 5 oz) they required a 6 hour observation in the NICU. Mark and my parents went with and got to spend more time meeting my girls. I was a little jealous.

Whatever they were waiting for in recovery finally happened and I was moved into a post partum room. After the 6 hour stay both girls were brought down to my room! I finally got to see both of them together and hold them. My family was there and it was a lot of people. Mark's parents joined us as well. It was fun to have so many people celebrating but I didn't get a whole lot of personal time with my babies, but I was sure there would be plenty of time for that.
A little drugged still... But finally holding both my girls! Abby is on the right, Alyssa is hiding on the left.
I was totally dazed still. I didn't really know what was going on. I hadn't registered yet that these were my daughters. After a while, they went back to the nursery - I don't remember why... pediatrician wanted to see them? I don't know. But that night they sent Abby back up to the NICU. That story next time. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sleeping Question

Seems like a popular discussion lately, so I'll add my two cents worth of experience.
We always wanted to get the girls to sleep in their own bed and go to bed on their own. I was a little anal about it. I didn't want them to fall asleep when they were being held or anywhere but their bed. That didn't really happen...  For the first few weeks there were just some nights that Alyssa would not go to sleep. M would pick her up and put her on his chest and they would sleep like that for 5 hours. It was wonderful. I was always worried about it, but they never moved an inch and she slept so well. And some nights, I would end up doing the same thing with Abby and all four of us would be sleeping on our bed. Although Abby never would sleep on my chest, she would in my arm next to me. I never moved when she was there. I always sleep cradling a pillow though, so I frequently found myself waking up afraid to move as I tried to feel and remember if I was holding a baby or a pillow.

Daddy and Alyssa Oct 29 (3 weeks old)
We always left the default as they go to sleep in their bed (which still is a raised pack n play). But when they were too fussy they would sleep with us. It wasn't too often that they would end up in bed with us. So it was more the exception than the rule. Now they don't come in bed with us anymore because they are really good at sleeping on their own. Maybe I just lucked out that they are fine on their own. But it is pretty nice, and it was also nice to cuddle with them when they did sleep with us. M loved it. Like I said, I started out totally against it, but discovered that sometimes you need to be flexible, and I did what I needed to when the need arose.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Grieving with my sister

I have not been very good at posting anything on here. I apologize. I will try to post more frequently. I have been reflecting this evening on the journeys we take to be mothers. My sister informed us tonight that at 10 weeks her baby has no heartbeat. This is her first miscarriage after giving birth to 5 beautiful children. I've been on the edge of tears all night. Motherhood is not easy. Becoming a mother isn't always easy whether child #1 or child #6.

I am especially grateful for my daughters tonight. They are healthy and growing (still super small though). 

Monday, October 17, 2011

1 week old also

My adorable Bluebear was also born last week. She is still in the NICU. I love them so much!!

1 week old

My sweet Apple was born last week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

33w3d "Stretching the Limits"

I'm still here! and better yet, the babies are still inside me! It has already been a month of bed rest (you'd think I would be better at posting...). For the most part, it has gone very smoothly, and yesterday we had an ultrasound to see how everything is going. I was pretty anxious the night before (the couple days before). I was sore and wasn't really sure if I was leaking "water" or not. But everything looks great! The babies are growing well, my cervix hasn't changed at all during the last month, and the fluid levels look good. The Dr was surprised I still hadn't delivered... but we are stretching out this pregnancy as much as we can!
The babies are also doing an excellent job stretching out my stomach. They had a serious growth spurt last weekend. It was incredible. Seriously, over 2-3 days there was a huge noticeable difference. M thinks that just since then he can already tell I've gotten bigger. The babies are 4 lb 10 oz and 4 lb 1 oz and are supposed to put on about a half pound a week! So I expect some more stretch marks coming... I'm just so glad to see them growing!