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 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.


  1. Thanks for the story! We're all so happy to know there's a happy ending. :-)