Monday, June 29, 2009

Twin Birth Story - Part 2

By Thursday evening, things were going well. Labor was staying away, even though I had a contraction every now and then. I had gotten two steroid shots into my system by this time, one on Wednesday morning when I was admitted and the second Thursday morning. I was taken off IV fluids and monitors and cleared to get out of bed to use the bathroom by Thursday afternoon.

Tom and Phoebe came to visit me Thursday evening and I sent them home at 8:30 PM for her to go to bed as she had school the next day. Myself, I went to bed around 10 PM. I was getting sick of watching House reruns on TV and getting tired too. I woke up at 11:30 PM out of a sound sleep with the worst contraction ever, but this feeling that I had to go to the bathroom. This will be TMI, but I knew I was constipated since I had been admitted to the hospital and that is very unlike me when I'm on my normal diet from home. I went into the bathroom and tried to use the facilities but I quickly became aware that I was concerned I'd be pushing out my first baby as his head was so low in my pelvis for the past few days. The new nurse that just came on shift came to check on me and do my vital signs. I told her I'd be done in a few minutes and she asked me to ring for her when I came back to bed. Well, considering how I was feeling about the first of our babies being ready to come out and then I started having more strong contractions, I decided to quickly get back to bed. I rang for the nurse while I tried to continue breathing through my contractions and explained to the nurse that I'm not a wuss and that I knew this was "the real deal" of labor. She got me on my side, started the IV fluids again and hooked me up to the monitors. When she realized this was not stopping she called for the rotational OB doctor to come look at me. She examined my cervix and we were all shocked for her to say I was fully dilated and that the baby's head was at station 2 and did I feel like I wanted to push??? I confirmed that I did, but she asked me not to until we could get me to Labor and Delivery and get my doctor to the hospital.

Before the doctor even examined me, I started trying to call Leo and tell him to get himself to the hospital immediately!!! My SIL was at our house, so I knew Phoebe would be OK staying at home. No one at the house was answering any of their phones. I tried the house line and cell phones. Finally I broke down and called our neighbor across the street to wake up my family and send my husband to the hospital. I owe my neighbors big time.

After I got through to Leo, I was moved to a gurney, to an operating room in Labor and Delivery, moved to the table in the OR and everyone in the room started introducing themselves to me. BTW, I had an anesthesiologist at my head. They didn't have time to give me an epidural and I'm thinking that if anything went wrong, they were going to put me out directly. My OB (or really another doctor from her practice that I know really well) and Leo came in at the same time. This was exactly when they were starting to have me push. I remember Leo grabbing my hand really hard and saying "I'm here. I'm here." I was so worried he wouldn't make it. I remember working on pushing but having a hard time, as my mind was mentally telling myself, "It's not time yet. This is too soon." But I pushed through and Thomas was born at 2:09 AM on 5/29/09. I heard Thomas cry right away and they whisked him over to the baby cribs to check him out. Dr. B immediately had me get back to work pushing and Liam was born 11 minutes later at 2:20 AM. She placed him directly on my stomach and I remember grabbing at him with my hands. He wasn't crying until later, but I knew he'd be OK and I just wanted my hands all over one of my babies at that moment. I thought if you're going to put Liam on my belly, I'm going to hold him for all my worth. A minute later he was taken over to be looked at as well and Dr. B cleaned me up. I had some tearing that needed to be repaired, but not that bad.

Leo and I got a good look at our babies before they left for the NICU. They asked us to give them an hour or two to get them admitted to the NICU and setup for us to visit. I wasn't sent to the Maternity Ward until that afternoon as they were very full at the hospital. I was in quite a bit of pain from the postpartum contractions, which were really bad. The nurses gave me some serious meds that made me sleepy and woozy, so I sent Leo to check on "the boys" and let me know how they were. He came back to let me know that Liam was on a respirator, but that Thomas was not needing any respiratory help at all.

Fast forward to a month later, and hopefully they will be going home in a week or two. All we have left to work on is for them to be nursing for all their feeds and gaining weight. Liam moved to an open crib this weekend and both he and his brother are doing great keeping their temperatures better than great when they are together. They are both doing well with nursing when they are not too tired. And both Leo and I each bathed a baby yesterday!!! We've been forgetting to bring the camera to the hospital the past two days, but we have it packed for today and plan on taking lots of new pictures.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Twin Birth Story - Part 1

It's been almost a month since Thomas and Liam were born, so I better get started on the story of how they came into this world. As I had mentioned in my blog the weekend before my water broke, the boys definitely dropped and I was feeling better about breathing and eating. I didn't really think this meant they would be coming soon, as I know when you get to that point it can still be several weeks before labor. But it was a sign of things to come....

On Wednesday, May 27, 2009, I was getting out of the shower and Leo and I were getting ready to get Phoebe on the bus. As I was drying off in the bathroom, a trickle when down my leg and onto the floor. I immediately knew what was going on. I didn't want to freak Phoebe out or make her worry all day, so I discreetly called Leo to the bathroom and asked him to get Phoebe on the bus and that my water broke and we needed to go to the hospital. I finished getting dressed and getting my act together, packing a bag and such for the hospital stay. I also called my OB's office and let them know what was going on. When Leo came back in from getting Phoebe off to school, we left for the hospital. Needless to say, I was extremely scared. I knew this was too early and wanted to get steroids into me to help the boys get ready to be born. Before we left for the hospital, I had started feeling contractions. It was just one or two, but it was scary to feel this so early.

I went to Triage at the maternity department of our hospital. The doctor said my cervix was completely closed, but that my water had broken and most likely it was just one of the twins who's membranes had ruptured and not both. They gave me my first steroid shot and confirmed that they would like to keep labor off for a few weeks and I would be admitted to the hospital for the rest of the duration of my pregnancy. I was put on IV fluids, antibiotics to keep away infection since my water broke, and monitors for the baby's heart rates and my contractions, which I was still feeling every now and then. I was also put on strict bed rest and was told to even use a bedpan instead of the bathroom. That didn't go over very well with me. I was also restricted from eating until they could confirm that I was stable. I was given a promise that maybe I could eat dinner that evening.

I was sent upstairs to the high risk area of maternity, monitored some more and then sent to Maternal/Fetal Medicine for an ultrasound. The ultrasound confirmed that the membrane that ruptured was Thomas, Liam's was fine and both boys were doing well. Even though Thomas's membranes had ruptured, there was still plenty of amniotic fluid for him to be fine for the duration. I was told that I would have an ultrasound every other day until delivery.

So for the next two days, we tried to keep things normal at home. My SIL came to stay with us to help with Phoebe. Phoebe came to visit me at the hospital with Leo and we made sure she got her homework done and home to bed at a decent time as she still had a few more weeks of school left.

I'll get to Part II tomorrow, which should be the finale, as I'll cover when we realized that labor could no longer be put off....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day and 35 Weeks Gestation (3 Weeks 2 Days Old)

Hope everyone had a Happy Father's Day. We had a very good one. Tommy is now in an open crib, instead of the incubator and is nursing very well when he's not tired. Liam also had his last dose of caffeine yesterday and he also is good at nursing when he's not tired. Liam is still in an incubator, but I hope that as he gains some more weight he can regulate his temperature better. I'm making sure that even if Liam nurses, he still gets his full feed from the feeding tube which includes the 2 packets of fortifier. He needs the extra calories as on Saturday, they both nursed very well so we chose that we didn't think they needed the feeding tube that day, but Tommy gained weight while Liam did not. So we won't make that choice with Liam until he gains a bit more weight. Tommy is now around 4 lbs 10 oz, while Liam dropped back to 3 lbs 15 oz.

Here's some updated pics. One of the boys side by side (Liam's head is so small!) and our official Father's Day photo of Tom and "the boys". In both pics, Tommy is in the dark blue hat and Liam is in the light blue hat.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twins Update, Yoga and the End of the School Year!

Tommy and Liam are doing very well. I was starting to get frustrated for a few days as it didn't seem like anything was getting any better. But they turned a corner and both are starting to regulate their own temperature better and are beginning to gain more weight. After that one night that Tommy nursed so well, we hadn't had a repeat of that until last night. Now I need to see if I can get it to continue, but I think it will. Next I need to work with Liam, but he's still been very sleepy the past few days and I think it's because he's working hard to gain weight and regulate his temperature. Liam is now off the pulse-oximeter and the temperature lead to the isolette, so he now has the same number of wires that Tommy has. I'm thinking it still might be another two weeks at least before they come home since they haven't transitioned yet to an open crib.

I'm also feeling pretty good as I got "back to the mat" yesterday. I was very kind to myself, but it felt very good to get into Triangle Pose and Downward Dog as well as my other favorite poses. Very relaxing and it felt so good to stretch!!!

And last but not least, yesterday was Phoebe's last day of school. We took her out to Friendly's for dinner and then went to visit the boys. Today is the first day of her Freestyle skating class and back to her private ice skating lessons, both on the same day. So I'll be spending the afternoon at the ice skating rink with a break to McD's for dinner in between.

And it's a rainy, dreary day here in PA today. I'll want to make sure I bring an umbrella when I go to the hospital this morning. I wonder if I can fit into a pair of jeans yet? Probably not.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Twins - 34 Week Gestation Update

If "The Boys" were still on the inside, they'd be 34 weeks gestation. Everything continues to go well, except Tommy is still ahead of where Liam is. Liam's been loosing weight since he's been off the IV and on full feeds through the feeding tube. The doctors called for both of their feeds to be fortified for extra calories, so hopefully that will help.

The other good news with Tommy is he's working to become a nursing champ. He's taking bottles from the nurses when I'm not around, but I've now tried nursing him four times over the past two days and two of those times, he did great. Two days ago, the first time I tried nursing him, he took 1/2 his feed from nursing. The second time he wasn't as interested that day. He seemed kind of tired. Yesterday, he wasn't interested at all, but the second time I tried, he nursed for a 1/2 hour, which at that point the nurses confirmed with the doctor's that their was no point in trying to feed him anymore for that feeding time. I was really surprised he did so well. He really knew what he needed to do, with a little help from me tickling him under his chin if he stopped here and there.

Another thing that makes it seem so real that they are here is we got their Social Security Cards in the mail. So the government officially recognizes them as real. Seeing their names on those official government cards made it seem so much more real.

Another thing that made me really happy is two days ago, I was at Borders and realized that The Pet Shop Boys came out with a new CD. I'm a huge lifelong fan and was so excited. The last time they came out with a new CD with new music (and not remixes of older stuff) was in 2000, the year Phoebe was born! Of course I bought it and have been listening to it over and over. Out of curiosity, I went to their website yesterday and found out they were having pre-sale concert tickets for the US and it was the last day to buy!!! They rarely ever tour the US and I've never seen them in concert because of it. Leo and I talked and agreed to go ahead and buy the pre-sale VIP tickets for the Atlantic City House of Blues concert. The VIP tickets are supposed to include premium seating and meeting the band!!!! Between Tommy nursing and me getting to meet The Pet Shop Boys and see them in concert for the first time, I'm walking on clouds. Can you imagine what I'll be like when they get home???? Well, besides happily tired.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Twins - Pre-2 Week Update

Tomorrow "The Boys" will be two weeks old!!! And I have lots of good updates. Here's a run down of both:

- Tried a bottle for the first time yesterday. It was a fast-flow nipple, so he didn't really have to suck much, but he got the swallowing part down pat. He had 16 ml of his 36 ml feed from the bottle before he fell asleep and I couldn't wake him again by chucking him under his chin.
- Now weighs 4 lbs 1 1.5 oz (a gain of 1.5 oz in 2 days)
- His feed today was moved up to 38 ml

- Off oxygen again. Still on caffeine. His apnea issue was a little better today. He seemed to recover on his own more.
- He's also off the IV and is strictly getting his calories from breast milk from the feeding tube.
- Dropped a little in weight and is now 3 lbs 15 oz. His last weight was when he was still on the IV, so the drop in weight is to be expected at first.
- Is now on the full feed size for his weight of 36 ml.
- Also likes his pacifier today for the first time. It was cute he was holding it with his hand to keep it in his mouth.

I started talking with the nurses about when we can try having them try to nurse. They said we'll do that soon during a time when they are eating on the feeding tube. I'll be asking again tomorrow.

BTW, I have a product shout out. It's the Earth Mama + Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter. It's fabulous. One of my friends at work gave it to me with some other products from their line and this one is my favorite of all them. It has lanolin beat hands down.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Still in the NICU - now with Apnea Issues

So in the past few days, Liam has decided to try a new way to get Mommy attention (at least that's my attempt at a joke). Liam's been having heart rate decelerations and stopping his breathing. They put him back on oxygen with the canula two days ago for this and yesterday he was still doing it, so they decided to give him caffeine to keep away the apnea issues. I'm trying not to freak out about it, but the doctor talked to me about it, and I hadn't had any questions, as he hadn't done it since yesterday afternoon. About an hour after I talked to the doctor, he started doing it again. I'm interested to see what's going on tomorrow and what our next steps are.

Other than that, they are both doing well. Liam is back to his full birth weight of 4 lbs 1 oz and Tommy is now a little more than his birth weight at 4 lbs even. Tommy's feeds are still at 36 ml but Liam's are now up to 25 ml. Apparently 36 ml is the full feed for the weight they are at. So they need to keep bulking up their weight and work on not needing any help heating their bodies. Next weigh in is tomorrow night.

Other than that on the getting organized front, I went to the grocery store yesterday evening, the HVAC guy came this morning to do the annual maintenance on the air conditioning, my car is going in for it's overdue maintenance tomorrow morning and Thursday morning I'm getting my hair colored. I can't wait until I can get rid of my roots!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Boys - 33 Weeks Gestation - 9 Days Old

Today the boys would have been 33 weeks gestation if they were still on the inside. I'm keeping track of this info (and I know the doctor's are too) as they say at what would have been 34 weeks gestation, the boys should have a good enough suck to be able to bottle feed or nurse. So one more week to go! I'm wondering if they might let Tommy try early though, as he loves his pacifier when he has his feedings through the tube. Liam is really not interested in his paci at all yet. I haven't noticed too much of a rooting reflex of either yet. Hopefully that will come in the next week.

They got weighed last night, so I'm curious to see where they are at now. I think Tommy should be back to above his birth weight. He was just 1 oz shy of his birth weight 2 nights ago and he's been on full feeds for his weight for a few days now. He's getting 36mL of breast milk through his tube feedings every 3 hours. Liam was put back on feeds the day before yesterday and he's now up to 10 mL of breast milk. Liam still has an IV in his arm until he gets up to full feeds for his weight, but Tommy has been off IV fluids for a few days now.

Yesterday was a real turning point for me attitude-wise. I don't know if it was the hormones starting not to mess with me anymore or what, but I'm feeling much more positive now. I know that the boys will come home soon enough, even if we don't know exactly when. I know they are both doing well and it's just a matter of time. The past two days I've also had energy in the afternoon instead of wanting to go pass out in a nap. And I'm getting organized again! I have a 3 section notepad that I'm taking everywhere to help me remember stuff. The first section is my To Do List, the second is for writing down the boys weights and other daily items I want to track on them, and the last section is for random notes. Today my plan is to do some menu planning for this week, as I want to be home for dinner every day and this week is Phoebe's last full week of school. Next week she has just 3 days and then she's done. But I know menu planning helps keep us from ordering too much take away, reduce stress of what to eat and makes sure we stay eating healthy! Which is important for the breastfeeding mom!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tommy and Liam - 1 Week Old Pics

Tommy and Liam are now 1 week old and to celebrate, I've had tons of energy and downloaded the pics from the camera to the computer and can now share them all with you. Enjoy!

Leaving for the Hospital After My Water Broke

Pic of Liam

Pic of Tommy

Leo (aka Tommy the Second) and "The Boys"

Phoebe holding Tommy

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Progress Report - All Are Tired But Doing Great

The boys continue to do really well in the NICU. We're getting more comfortable every day as we get to understand the schedule of their care and when the doctors come around on rotations. The nurses are fabulous and provide lots of information to make us feel more comfortable as well as helping us feel more comfortable about changing their diapers, taking their temperatures, and wrapping them up and letting us hold them during their gavage feedings. Here's a detailed update on both:

Thomas (Tommy) never needed any respiratory help, but he's been in a temperature controlled incubator to help regulate him to be warm enough. He needed one day of the bili-lights, but it doesn't look like he will need it again. They keep an eye on both their bili levels every day. Tommy has been on gavage feedings with my breast milk for several days. Yesterday he was at 20 mL per feeding and they are increasing by mL every 12 hours. He's tolerating his feeds very well and every diaper we changed of his yesterday had BM!!! His goals are to gain weight and mature to be effective at sucking so we can begin nursing.

Liam graduated off both the respirator and CPAP and is on oxygen through the nose candula. He's also in a temperature controlled incubator and was under the bili-lights twice, including yesterday. He's on gavage feedings, but only 5mL with no increases as the doctors are evaluating what they want to do with the hole in his heart they found yesterday. It sounds like the choices are to wait and see if it closes or to give him medication to close it for him. His goals are first to be on room air as well as gaining weight and mature his sucking for nursing. He may not reach these goals until after Tommy as he needs to work on his respiratory goals as well.

We're just so grateful to all the staff and medical help available at our local hospital. It takes 30 minutes to drive there, but it is such a state of the art facility and the people there are so amazing and helpful to the parents going through these tough times. We even got to hold both the boys at the same time the night before last when Phoebe was visiting. She took some pictures which I hope to get posted soon, but not at the detriment to our rest.

We are still though very tired. Leo is still doing some work (since he can work from home and over cell phone) so he can save his time off for when the boys get home. With him doing all the driving back and forth, making sure we have food, making sure Phoebe gets on the bus and homework done, and of course taking care of me, he's been as tired as I am. We do have help at home, which is especially helpful with getting Phoebe off the bus and being there for her, but we still want to make sure that she doesn't feel slighted. She is so excited with her new baby brothers that she's tired too, but that is starting to settle down. Now her other excitements are the other cool things they do at the end of the school year like Field Day and the Parents' Picnic. Of course I'm tired, what with giving birth and waking up to pump all night, but I've been taking cat naps often and making sure I'm off my feet a lot. Today though, I need to get some bills done before we need to go to the hospital, so I need to sign off for now.

Thank you, thank you, for all your well wishes and kind words. Just so you know, this blog will not be ending as this was always not just an infertility blog, but a blog about all the joys in my life, which are my family, my work, cooking, yoga and anything crazy that pops into my head. I will also be posting the birth story for the twins, but I want to give that one lots of time and energy to do it right.