Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy 1 Week!

Our boys have now been in our lives a full week and yet I cannot imagine our lives without them already.  I'm sure many have said that before and many will say it after ... but now I truly get it!  There definitely is no way to fully and accurately describe how these little beings change you - inside and out.  


My life feels fuller now.  How is that?  I'm not even entirely sure, especially since they're still in the NICU and not at home with us.  However, it's true.  There is this sudden awareness of the world beyond myself.  A consciousness that supersedes the superficial reality that used to be me.  Suddenly there they are, a real and physical extension of myself.  Simply amazing!


Life with babies in the NICU is tough.  Information varies from nurse to nurse and isn't always the same as what you may have just heard from the doctor.  You have to learn to take each day as it comes and not expect anything - and yet, expect everything.  The noise and constant bustle around you makes it difficult to truly relax and we fear the over-stimulation may be making the healing process a little more difficult for our boys.  Frustrating.  It gets harder each night to leave them and my heart yearns to be near them at all times.  However, as I wake up in the middle of the night to pump, I think of them and know that we are doing everything we can do to make it better for them.  Hopefully it makes a difference.  We try to utilize the time we have with them while we're there.  And I'm doing the best I can to keep calm and tear-free.  That's not so easy either.  


Yet there is much to celebrate in this short week.  The boys are starting to gain weight.  PB has been a rock star.  He has done so well with bottle feeding.  Though he does have a NG (nasogastric) tube, he has been taking most of his feedings fully by himself.  He is also teaching me a thing or two about breastfeeding - namely, that I'm clumsy and no matter how much I've studied there is still a huge difference between reading and practicing.  He, on the other hand, seems to know exactly what to do.  Thanks, kiddo.  J may lack a lot of PB's stamina, but he's a quick learner.  He is still taking every other meal by NG, but he is starting to really figure out bottle feeding.  Momma B and I think it's going to just click for him one day and that will be that.  He's also a quick study when it comes to breastfeeding as well.  He latches beautifully.  He just tends to forget what to do once he's there.  


Breastfeeding is a challenge and somehow I think we may not fully get it until we're home and able to relax much more.  Thankfully, I'm learning patience with myself.  That, perhaps, has been the biggest challenge of all.


It has been a wonderful week full of so many ups and downs.  I look forward to everything that is to come.  Every day I fall deeper in love with both of them.  And every day I feel my love for Momma B deepen and expand beyond my heart.  Our family.  It feels good just to say it.  



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Short, But Sweet

Amazing how time just ticks by when you're on bed rest, but suddenly zooms by a mile a minute as soon as babies arrive.  I'm still reeling.


Our babies are finally here!  My amazement is just beyond suitable words.  However, my heart has swollen with so much love in the last couple days it's near to bursting.  Not just for these beautiful boys of ours, but for Momma B as well.  Our family is complete and I couldn't be more happy or more proud.


The delivery went smoothly.  The L&D nurses were simply lovely and though it was very strange to be on the other side of the bed, I had no doubts of the standard of care I was receiving.  I cannot tell you how strange it is to feel so full of baby one second and the next to feel suddenly deflated.  I also cannot tell you how hard it is to imagine how those babies actually fit inside of me.  They are so small, but yet larger than life.  Yes, I'm still riding on a baby high.  


PB, our little tank, came into this world at a very solid 7 lbs 6 oz and 20" long.  He also entered with a bit of a laugh as he chose to pee on the nurse as she was trying to stimulate him to breathe and cry.  J, our precious one, came in a smaller package than we expected at 5 lbs 11 oz and 19" long.  


At 35+1 weeks gestation, their APGARS weren't too bad at 7/7 and 7/8 respectively.  They both had some respiratory problems, but again, nothing that we didn't anticipate - so they both went to the NICU on CPAP (aka bubblers).  J did have two tiny pneumothoraxes and had to be intubated, but as soon as he received the surfactant to his lungs he was able to be taken off the ventilator and extubated within hours.  He may be smaller, but he's so much stronger!  He was also the first to be taken off the CPAP last night whereas PB took another day.  Now our concern is getting them to eat well.  J has been able to take in every milliliter given to him, but is very slow and gets tired easily from it.  He also is still trying to get a full grasp on sucking.  However, he's been able to tolerate increased amounts at each feeding and thus is also being weaned off the TPN and lipids.  Since PB was just taken off his CPAP tonight and passed his four hour trial period, we haven't found out how well he's eating just yet.  I anxiously await that news in the morning.  


Today was extra special because I finally got to hold each one of them at separate times, skin-to-skin for the first time since they were born.  Both of them snuggled right into my chest and life just settled into a slow, soothing rhythm each time.  I got in a full hour with each of them.  Those were the moments in which motherhood settled onto me and actually fit - I'm a mother.  Wow.  Unfortunately, recovery of my own body set a time limit on each magical moment.  Just as amazing, it was also the first time I've heard either of them cry since they were pulled out of me.  It was heart-wrenching, but also made me smile because I realized how laid back and quiet they've been despite everything going on with them and around them in the NICU.  I may be biased, but these boys seem to be the strong, silent types thus far.  And they're gorgeous.


I'm recovering pretty well, but will write another post in the future about me.  Right now, I'm all about our boys.  They are all ours ... and just so perfect.  I couldn't feel more blessed than I do at this moment!  Welcome to the world, my darlings.


PB (r) & J (l) born 5/17/12 @ 8:07 & 8:08 pm PST.


Our gorgeous PB after getting the CPAP removed today!


Beautiful J right after getting CPAP removed last night.


Such an incredible time-stood-still moment with PB.


Another amazing, priceless moment with J.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This Is It!

Guess my body - or our boys - had other plans.  I've had a pretty nasty headache most of today that two doses of Norco haven't touched, I started getting more frequent visual floaters and my blood pressures have been creeping up.  It's enough for Dr. Y to call it severe pre-eclampsia and deliver us tonight!


This is it!  We're headed back to the OR around 7 o'clock tonight ... well, realistically around 7:30 since it's shift change for all the nurses, but you know.


OMG!  We're going to meet our boys tonight.  It hasn't hit me yet.  At all.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scheduled

It's officially official - if nothing else happens, we'll finally get to meet our baby boys next Wednesday, May 23rd at noon!  We were also able to schedule it with our doctor, the beloved Dr. G.  Absolutely amazing news!  I cannot express how exciting all of this is for us.  There simply are not sufficient words.  


We're less than a week away.  Less than a week!!  


Yesterday I got one last look at PB&J in utero.  PB measured at 7 lbs 4 oz - approximately 38w2d for a singleton!  And J caught up to his brother (or he really was bigger than they thought two weeks ago) measuring at 6 lbs 7 oz.  He's our big-headed boy; his noggin measured at 38w1d, though his belly and femur both measured at 36w2d (whereas PB measured 38w2d consistently for all three).  J also continues to be our little active one as he decided he no longer wanted to be vertex (head down), but rather transverse-breech (side-lying, butt down).  What I thought was his little butt pushing up and out of my right rib cage turned out to be his big head and his rear is instead tucked into his brother's belly.  Active, but also a cuddler already!  PB, as always, is totally content in his breech position.  While I couldn't find a picture to show you what this could look like, I did find this combination of presentations only happens in about 4% of twins.  Oh, our special boys!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Single Digits

The BEST news this morning.  Dr. R came in to confirm our last growth scan for our boys, scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Basically, I found out that PB&J's birthday will depend on how big they measure tomorrow.  Dr. R is pretty certain we're not going past 36 weeks which would mean we're definitely into the final countdown and into single digits!!  OMG!!


Now, of course, anything could still happen between now and next Wednesday.  My blood pressures could go wacky again, my water could break, my contractions could decide to pick up ... many things could happen.  However, at the rate we're going, I have a feeling these boys are far too comfortable and my body is far too efficient at keeping them comfortable for any of that to happen.  I think we'll probably go to our scheduled c-section - and that's okay.  


My spirits lifted instantly when hearing the news because somehow taking that extra week off the calendar made it seem more doable, more feasible.  My mind was going to dark places thinking of having to go through all this discomfort and isolation for another two and a half weeks.  One and a half doesn't feel so dark.  


Right after I was readmitted, Momma B created a Prediction Board so everyone could put their guesses in to when PB&J would make their long-awaited arrival - even our beloved Dr. G got in on the action.  However, I think Momma B had some sort of inside scoop because if we do deliver right at 36 weeks, she wins - for the birth date anyhow.  We'll just have to see ... at the moment, I'm simply ecstatic we're so very close to finally meeting our baby boys!!



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

YAY!! Goal #2 Reached!

We made it to 34 weeks!  Who would've thought six weeks ago when I was first admitted to the hospital that we would be here now?!  Honestly, I wasn't entirely sure.  But here we are and I couldn't be more excited.  Only three weeks to go before we hit term ... not sure if we'll make it that far, but at this point I'm taking it a week at a time.  


My preeclampsia is taking it's natural course: my blood pressures fluctuate from normal to high; my proteinuria is slowly creeping upward, but still hasn't hit alarming levels; my headaches are daily, but still considered benign.  I may be more optimistic than my doctors, as they're all taking things a day at a time, but ah well.  


Of course, delivery may not be determined by the preeclampsia, but rather labor.  My contractions are becoming more regular and though they're oh-so-gradually getting more uncomfortable, the biggest difference is that they're palpating firmer.  Again, nothing to be overly concerned about - I'm still able to sleep through them and they're still not always in any discernible pattern - but it's a change and something the doctors again are looking at day-by-day.  


What I am taking a day at a time is just being in the hospital.  It's been nearly two weeks and it's sometimes a bit of a struggle to keep my spirits up.  I miss all the little things Momma B and I used to do together.  I'm sad I'm not able to help her finish the nursery, or organize the rest of the baby stuff, or just take part in any of the preparations for the babies.  I'm so very grateful for her - she has been so strong for me and has taken on so much.  I can't imagine how difficult this must be for her, but she never lets me see it.  She's amazing, truly.  I'm so grateful for my family - my mom is helping with some of the crafts we want to get done and keep things around our house in order, while still visiting and keeping me company; my sister came often to keep me company as well, though I miss her now since she got a new job in the city.  I'm so grateful for our friends - they've given me a break from the hospital food by bringing me lunch, they keep me company, listen to me gripe, and provide a relief from the monotony of hospital life ... and keep me from missing home and Momma B so much!  I don't think I would be holding onto my sanity so well if it weren't for all of you that have supported me so much through all of this.  Thank you, sincerely.


Want to see some belly pics?  Okay!


You may not see it, but my belly is a bit lopsided here since J just loves to live up in my rib cage!
Big belly, little head!  Funny thing is, this is how I found out nearly all my stretch marks are on the right side of the linea nigra.  How weird is that?!  LOL

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

About Our Boys

I may have mentioned before that Momma B and I have come up with different stories for our boys.  Sometimes it's based on intuition, sometimes how they act in utero, and sometimes it's just fanciful speculation.  As the days before delivery continue to get shorter, I find myself wanting to write it all down so I don't forget these wishful thoughts of anticipation.  Once life with children takes over, I'm afraid I may no longer remember and I want to ... no matter how off the mark we end up, I want to remember our dreams.


So boys, this is what we have been dreaming about ...


Dear PB,  
When we think of you, we envision light hair and dark eyes - perhaps you'll be a light or sandy blond with gorgeous rich-hued eyes, though we're unsure what color.  We tease and call you our little bruiser because you've always measured at or above the 95th percentile.  You're long and large, taking after your Momma L's side of the family.  You're going to be tall and strong - an athlete.  Whether it's baseball or football, you'll be a natural. (Though Momma B thinks you'll make the perfect tight end.)  I believe you'll take after your Momma B - laid back, taking everything in stride, solid in the face of adversity.  However, I also think you'll be a bit stubborn, once you've found what you like you'll stick with it.  You've remained in a breech position from the very start and haven't made any attempts to change.  You're comfortable there and thus have remained.  So perhaps you'll be a bit like your Momma L too in that change may not be readily welcomed, but once comfortable you'll be just fine.  Independent and confident, we think you'll be quite the charmer as well.  There will be something in your quiet, shyness that will attract people to you.  You will never lack for love and friendship.


Dear J,  
When we think of you, we picture dark hair and light eyes - we definitely think you'll be a brunette with either blue or green eyes (secretly we're hoping for green, just like your Momma B).  You kept up with your brother pound for pound until about a month ago.  You're not far behind, but though we think you'll be just as tall we don't think you'll be quite as solid.  You've kept busy in your momma's uterus and I don't doubt you'll continue to be a bundle of energy as you grow.  We think you'll enjoy athletics, but will be more into your education and learning - fascinated perhaps by science or art.  (Momma B thinks you'll take after me with your enjoyment of reading.)  We think you'll also be our more adventurous one - excited for new experiences and travels.  You've never been able to stay in the same position in utero, always moving from breech to vertex to transverse and all around again.  You seek out new perspectives and are adaptable.  You also love to live up in my ribs and though this causes me great discomfort, it makes us believe you'll be more of a momma's boy - our little cuddler and lover.  You give the nurses a rousing time of chase when it's time to put you on the monitor and I think it's because you love the attention.  Personally, I think you'll also love to make us laugh and will go out of your way to spark a smile.  Your outgoing nature will bring you great success and happiness.  


Both of you boys are already the light in our eyes.  We have been so very excited to meet you from the moment we saw that oh-so-faint line on the pregnancy test.  We are counting down the days and as each one passes, our anticipation becomes more and more palpable.  We love you, more than we could ever express to you!  Thank you for blessing our lives.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

For Reals?!

Today we had another ultrasound.  (To keep the following in perspective, our last u/s was a mere 11 days ago.)  I will preface this by telling you I'm still in shock.


In less than two weeks, J has gained nearly a pound.  He's now just over 5 lbs! - measuring at 34 weeks for a singleton!  However, the true surprise is PB.  I'm not sure I entirely believe it because according to the u/s tech, he's gained nearly two pounds - weighing over 7 pounds!! 


Say what?!  


Now granted, there is an estimated +/- 14 oz margin of error, but even still that means he's at least 6 and a half pounds.  Oh my.  Oh my!  J's margin of error was smaller at +/- 8 oz, but honestly I have a feeling he's a little bigger than measured as his head was tucked so far down it was difficult for the tech to get a good view.  


Not that I'm doubting your mathematical skills, dear readers, but OMG do you realize?! - that's like 12 pounds of babies in there!!!!!!  *le sigh*


I simply cannot wrap my head around it.


Now I know we're only 33 weeks today.  I know PB&J are better off inside than out at this point.  I know bed rest is helping reroute all my energy to growing babies.  I know the problems that can arise if born too early.  I know the risks and benefits.  I know all of it.  But.  Right now, right at this moment, I'm done.


I'm stuck in a bed with little to do and an unfortunate inability to focus on those activities I want to do.  I'm uncomfortable - with a constant pain in my ribs, working harder to breathe, the never-ending swelling, the persistent headaches, waking up every 45 - 60 minutes at night to pee (yes, I keep track!), the night sweats.  My body is not my own and I miss it.  I want to be home.  I want to finally see and hold and smell these dear babies that I can only try to imagine.  My life is in a holding pattern.  Though the days creep by, I feel no forward motion.  Planning, preparing, dreaming - all on hold.


I want some control over the situation, but I have none and have to try and give over to that - make peace with it.  It's not working so far.
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