Warning. This post is long. Like crazy long.
OhMyGosh we have twins. And a toddler. And twins. Did I already mention that? Because that’s the thing about twins… there are two of them. Here’s a recap of the last 25 days.
May 31- around midnight. My water broke. I’m going to spare the details, but it took me a little while to really accept that’s what had happened and even longer to get Seth to accept it and get out of bed. We called his mom who made it over in record time (for it being midnight, I was seriously impressed) and finished packing the hospital suitcase. You see- I was only 35 weeks and although I know twins can come early I really thought we were in it for the long haul. Even my doctor said he thought I’d make it to the scheduled C-Section date (which was today) no problem. However, the babies disagreed and decided they were ready! We took off around 12:30 and by the time we got to the hospital my contractions were every 3-5 minutes. Much different than the last kiddo already! After a quick exam the nurse said to me “things are going to go really fast here for a while.” I asked who the doctor on call was and was SO relieved that it was my OB! I never thought I’d care who delivered my babies knowing that all the doctors there are well trained and have great reputations, but when it came down to it I realllllly wanted my doctor to be there. Part of my water-broken-denial was that I know my Dr doesn’t work on Fridays so I was trying to figure out a way to put this off until he would be there. But then came a few more contractions and my common sense returned. Anyway- he came in and I cried. Seriously. Was so happy to see him. The nurse was right- things went really fast after that and to be honest it’s all kind of a blur. I think I got to the OR around 2am to start prep and the babies were born at 2:39 and 2:40am. Compared to Jackson’s 18 hour labor followed by a C-Section, this little 3 hour party was much better! And I still got to feel the contractions (I know that sounds crazy, but there’s something about feeling the contractions that makes me feel like I’m earning it or something. Those aren’t the right words.. I can’t really explain it but it’s part of the whole experience that I think is amazing!).
Since they were only 35 weekers they automatically went to the NICU after I got a quick peek. Seth bounced back and forth between the OR with me and the NICU with the babies and kept me updated. Later we talked about this and he shared how hard it was for him- leave his babies in the NICU or leave his wife in the middle of surgery? They hadn’t gone on oxygen which was huge for premies so we were hopeful! After about an hour in recovery I got to go see them. They wheeled me to the NICU to see the babies but we couldn’t touch them yet. Olivia (at this time Girl Hill)’s breathing was too rapid and irregular so they needed her to stay calm and unstimulated. Calvin (Boy Hill)’s wasn’t as bad but he also needed to be as unstimlated as possible so we could only just look at them. Hardest thing ever. Just look at my babies on this crazy heat table with a million tubes and wires attached to them.
Here they are right after they were born (I wish I had something in there as a reference point for size… the diapers are Newborn sized if that helps!)-
Later that afternoon Seth and I went to visit the babies again and this time one of the nurses asked if we wanted to hold them. Tears for the, oh, millionth time that day for me. One of the nurses was clearly not OK with it but God bless the other (Pam) who let me hold my babies! She also explained a lot about premies that we were completely clueless about. The biggest struggle that our babies were currently facing were weight and breathing. Hearts were strong and other vitals were checking out OK (except for blood sugar, but that’s pretty much expected). The breathing was never serious enough to go on oxygen, so their biggest job was to gain some weight. So they had to eat. And they had to stay awake to eat. This apparently is much harder than we know! Premies are easily overstimulated, so if they’re touched too much, have someone in their face, their skin rubbed, their feet touched, someone talking to them, etc etc they will go into survival mode and just shut down. All the things you naturally do with a baby can’t be done with premies. And nursing is twice the effort for half the amount of food, so even just nursing can be too much for them. The nurses had me do a lot of skin-to-skin stuff but then go pump for their feedings. After a day or so Seth and I got to actually feed them and maybe another day later they had me start trying to nurse.
After 3 or so days of being in the middle of the NICU on the warming tables, they got the OK to go to the regular cribs in their own special room of the NICU. This was great for us- we got some privacy (imagine trying to nurse a newborn baby in the middle of the room… completely exposed, doctors and nurses running around, other parents all over… My wheelchair got slammed in to at least 5 times every time we were down there) and that meant the babies were starting to regulate their own body temperatures better. They still had some ups and downs there, but nothing a pile of warm blankets couldn’t fix. They still had IVs and 3 different monitor stickers, but we were thrilled to have the space! I later asked a nurse why we got it and she said they reserve that room for babies who are going to be there a little longer than normal and since we had 2 they thought it was a good fit. That was Sunday- also the day we got kicked out of our nice big room and moved down the hall to one of the older tiny ones. The floor was crazy busy and they needed to use the big rooms as delivery rooms. Seth was planning on going home to start getting Jackson back on track anyway so it made it easier for that transition. On Monday I was officially discharged but got to stay in that room for free as a guest. However, I was completely on my own for everything so we made a mad dash to Target for meds, clothes, and some other items needed after having a baby that the hospital no longer provided.The next 5 days I went down to the NICU for about an hour and a half every three hours. I nursed one baby and gave a little bottle afterwards to supplement because nursing would wear them out. I’d then give the other twin just a bottle (since nursing is so tiring, we came up with the every other nursing plan so I wasn’t getting them both exhausted at every feeding). Then I’d come back to my room and pump for the next feeding and waited until I could go back down again. Seth came over his lunch hour every day and then hung out with Jackson in the evenings. It was brutal not seeing Jackson for so long! He came to visit a few times but the hospital is a tough place for an almost 2 year old. One night he and Seth picked me up for dinner and I just sat and stared at him the entire time. At bedtime they’d call me to read books and sing and talk about his day, but I missed my peanut (note: he is SO not a peanut anymore! Holy cow he looks like a teenager compared to these babies!).
After another day or so (I have it written down in my baby journal but at this point all the days run together) they got their IVs out. That was awesome. The way they do baby IVs are so sad, they have to club their little arms so they don’t get pulled out and everyone has to be verrrry careful. So even though they still had the sticker monitors, those were nothing compared to the IVs.
We also had a little fight with Jaundice (Biliruben). Both babies metered high and had to go in the light boxes for 24 hours. Calvin was higher and on the brink of the dangerous level, but never got quite there. Since his levels had risen significantly the doctors just wanted lots of monitoring. I always thought “Jaundice” was something most babies got and was really no big deal. Turns out, when high enough it can cause brain injury!
After getting out of the light tables, both babies rebounded a bit (which is fairly common) but were able to stay out of the boxes. With their Biliruben levels OK (they were still fairly high but just closely monitored), their blood sugar, body temps, and breathing now all under control the biggest battle was weight. The twins leapfrogged here. Cal would gain one day while Livie lost, and the next day she’d gain and he’d lose. At their lowest, Calvin weighed in around 5lb 1oz and Olivia was somewhere around 4lb 9oz.
On Wednesday (Thursday maybe?) the babies got to come down to my room and spend some time there. It was amazing to spend some time with them outside of the NICU.
The caravan down the hall:
Daddy and both babes:
During the hospital photographer’s photo shoot (I’ll post some of those another time) (spoiler alert- they didn’t go well! It was time to eat and the babies didn’t dig being messed with, so that was a losing combo for newborns. In fact, in this picture Olivia is latching on to Calvin’s shoulder. She’s starving.) (but they’re still adorable):
Finally Friday morning our pediatrician said we could go home! You’re right- I cried. Although Calvin had lost weight it was only an ounce and the doctor said he was confident that we would be OK at home. We had to come in the next morning, the following Monday, and the following Friday for check ups but that was a welcome trade for going home! As we waited in my room (on Thursday Dr Nau said he thought we’d be going home Friday so I had Seth come in early) a nurse came in and let us know they needed our room for another patient and asked us to wait in the NICU. So we sat in the tiny, dark, quiet room and waited for the official discharge paperwork to go through. For three hours! And Seth had drank like three cups of coffee. It was brutal, but I was so excited to be going home I didn’t really care.
Finally home! And back together:
So that’s the whirlwind week we had at Mary Greeley. Just like with Jackson, I can’t say enough good things about the nursing and medical staff there. In fact, I seriously miss a few of them!
Since we’ve been home the babies are doing great. They’ve got good reports at all their check ups (Calvin had to have a blood test done because he metered high for Biliruben again, but it went down so he’s OK!). We go back on July 3, which was their actual due date for the next check up. At that time we’ll schedule Olivia’s ultrasound… have I mentioned that? They think she has hip dysplasia. One of the pediatricians wanted to do an ultrasound while she was in the hospital but they said there are too many false positives when babies are this early so she needs to wait until she’d be closer to full term. Until then, we are double diapering to splay her hips out and hopefully encourage proper development. BUT, other than that- they’re gaining weight like champs and doing better than expected! Our doctor wants us to continue limiting visitors to immediate family for the next few weeks or so. We still only hold them during feeding times and let them sleep the rest of the time so they have the energy to eat. These are both a lot harder than they sound… people want to come visit and get in their faces and talk baby talk and hold them and stroke them… but we just can’t. We don’t even get to hold them! I know it sounds like we’re being way overprotective and crazy, but like I said- they’re doing great and I have to think part of that is because we’re following doctor recommendations pretty strictly and letting them get good rest so they have energy to eat and grow.
So that’s how Girl Hill and Boy Hill came to join us! We are so in love with them and can’t imagine life without them. People keep asking if it’s weird or crazy to have two, but it just seems like that’s what its supposed to be and it would be weird or crazy if we only had one! We are thankful for all the thoughts and prayers on behalf of our friends and family and are grateful to have little fighters here! Jackson loves on his little siblings (“niiiice babies” and “babies ni-ni” are heard very often around the house) and we are working on getting the hang of this whole parents of 3 kids in less than 2 years thing.
I’m sure we’ll be taking a little detour from the wallpaper aspect and focusing a little more on the diapers part of this blog for a bit, but I’m hoping to get some fun projects done now while I’m on leave. I’ve made a list but haven’t been able to accomplish more than maybe a shower and some laundry each day, so it might be a while! For now, it’s time to feed the babies so I better get on that before Olivia decides to snack on Calvin again.