Friday, January 31, 2014

Birth Story

I was still working, but had come to the conclusion that I was about done.  Things were just getting harder and I was starting to have more and more swelling.  I went to work as usual at 32w3d.  It was a Tuesday and I thought that was probably going to be my last week of work.  Little did I know, that was going to be my last day altogether.  I was just about to start training my third appointment of the day when my water broke.  I shared this part of the story here if you'd like to go back and read it.

I was admitted to the hospital and spent the next six days in antepartum.  The goal was to make it to 34 weeks and then deliver.  The first few days things were going well and it really looked like that was going to happen, although the swelling in my legs and feet was getting pretty extreme.  My blood pressure amazingly enough, stayed surprisingly low those first few days as well.

I don't know if you can tell, but I pretty much didn't have a knee anymore because I was so swollen.  As the week progressed, the swelling increased.  It worked its way up to my thighs, my lady bits, and into my back. Things were still staying relatively stable, despite all the swelling, until.... it wasn't.  I was admitted on a Tuesday, and by Saturday night/early Sunday, my blood pressure began to climb.  (read about it here). Also, I was having a hard time keeping my oxygen levels up high enough.  This mostly happened during the night when I was trying to sleep.  Every time I would fall into a deep sleep, the alarm would sound.  I ended up not sleeping very well because I had to concentrate so hard on taking deep breaths just so the alarm wouldn't go off all night!  They even put an oxygen mask on me Saturday night, but it didn't help much.  I should tell you I felt fine and they weren't worried about me so much, but they were concerned the babies weren't getting enough oxygen.

Sunday night was the game changer.  During the night, I got up to go to the bathroom and my legs were so swollen I could hardly walk.  There was just not enough room between my thighs for me to walk.  It put a whole new meaning to the pregnancy waddle because I had to have my legs spread so far apart because my thighs and labia were so incredibly swollen.  It was scary.  I also felt extremely dizzy and not right at all.

Back on The Mag I went.  Thank you preeclampsia - so NOT my friend.  It was decided that Monday, December 23rd would be D day.  That morning, they did another ultrasound to check the position of the babies for delivery.  Wouldn't you know it, Baby B had turned and was now breach.  Great, now I had to have a c-section.  As much as I didn't want to have a c-section, I was also relieved that the decision was made for me.  I was a little bit a lot terrified of giving birth either way.  This just happened to be the more scary option for me.  I was afraid of the spinal and I definitely didn't want my stomach cut open.

Unfortunately, this was one of the few nights that Tony had gone home so he could get a decent nights sleep not on a hospital couch, and some clean clothes.  He had been planning to work the next day.  It was pretty awful having all this happen to me and being by myself.  I texted my sister at some point during the middle of the night.  I don't know what time.  I figured she might be up feeding the baby and I was right.  I wanted her to have a heads up that the babies would probably be coming that next day so she could make arrangements for all her kiddos.  I wanted her to be there for the birth, like I had been for her.

At about 6:00am, I finally called Tony.  I wanted him to get as much sleep as he could, since there wasn't really anything happening for awhile anyway.  He cancelled all his appointments for the day and took care of what needed taken care of with work so he could get to the hospital.

The plan was that we would do a c-section sometime around 12:00 or 1:00 that Monday afternoon, so I wasn't allowed to eat any breakfast or drink any water.  Tony and Sis got to the hospital later that morning and we basically just hung out, waiting for more details on what the plan would be.

It's tradition to get a pre-birth picture.  We've done it for each of Sis's kids, just swap her husband for mine!
They weighed me one last time.  In the six days I was in the hospital before birth, I gained a whopping 26 pounds!  All in fluid.  Yikes.  26 pounds.  In six days.  My body was miserable.

Later in the morning, the doctor on call that would be delivering my babies came in to go over the birth plan and what to expect.  It was a very busy morning for having babies.  There had already been a few emergency c-sections that morning and there were a few more deliveries that needed to happen before mine, so it would be more like 2:00 or 3:00 now.

Tony, Sis, and I felt like we were a bit on pins and needles all morning, expecting it to be our turn at any time.  We spent the day waiting, and anxiously thinking at any moment it would be time to meet the babies. This did give us time to talk about what needed to happen during and after delivery.  They only allow one support person in the operating room during a c-section, but they allowed Sis to wait in the room just off the operating room, where they bring the babies to get cleaned up, weighed and all that jazz.  Directly after delivery, the plan was for Tony to go to the NICU with the babies and for Sis to come into the operating room with me.   It was so important to me that Tony went with the babies, but I also didn't want to be left alone!  I told Tony repeatedly how important it was for him to do kangaroo care with the babies because I wouldn't be able to.  I told him he couldn't be embarrassed to take his shirt off, and that he HAD to get those babies skin to skin.  Sis's job would be to take lots of pictures.

At almost 2:00, the doctor came back in.  She had talked to my OB, filling her in on my situation and letting her know we would be delivering.  She also told me they had two MORE emergency c-sections that had to happen before me.  Dr. P was working in the clinic office that day, but she really wanted to be there to deliver my babies.  She could get to the hospital around 6:00pm if I didn't mind waiting.  Knowing that there were two more deliveries that needed to happen before me, I figured it would be close to 6:00 anyway, so of course I wanted my doctor there!  I thought it was pretty cool that she wanted to be the one to deliver my babies, even after she'd already put in a full day of appointments at the clinic.

So we waited some more.  And I still couldn't eat.  I was absolutely starving!  And I couldn't drink anything either.  As hard as it was to wait ALL day, it was also nice to know that I myself was not the emergency. Yes, I was sick with preeclampsia and we needed to deliver, but it wasn't an emergency.

As it got closer to D time, the anesthesiologist came in to talk about the spinal procedure.  In my mind, this was the worst and most scariest part of having a c-section.  Oh wait.  I also wasn't thrilled at having my stomach cut open.  But I already told you that...

They made me drink a small little cup full of the nastiest, most foul concoction I've ever tasted.  Apparently it was supposed to help with the nausea that sometimes comes with the spinal.  They warned me it would taste bad so I should just gulp it down quickly.  Yeah.  Oh my goodness, it was the worst thing I've ever tasted in my entire life.

Dr. P came in to see me as soon as she arrived at the hospital.  She said they only had to clean up the operating room and it would be go time!

FINALLY, after being told it would be around noon, and then around 2:00, and then around 6:00, it was finally our turn, well past the 6:00 time.  I was wheeled into the operating room and Tony and Sis were taken to put their scrubs on.  Tony wasn't brought into the operating room until I was done being prepped for delivery.
Hubby and Sis ready to go
I was so scared!  I had to sit up on the edge of the operating table in a hunched position for the spinal.  I was worried I would move while they were doing this.  I didn't want to inadvertently jump and then be paralyzed for life!  The doctor started at the base of my spine and worked his way up.  I cried the entire time.  I started crying before he even started because I was so scared.  The spinal hurt so bad, and I pretty much just sobbed out of fear and pain, and I didn't stop crying throughout the entire c-section.  I couldn't help it.  I was afraid for myself and I was afraid for my babies.

There was a lot of activity going on in the room, none of which I could see.  I was laid back down on the table and told to let them know if I was going to be sick.  I definitely felt nauseous.  Within minutes, maybe seconds, I was vomiting.  All I could do was turn my head to the side and someone had held a bag for me to puke into.  That nasty stuff they made me drink earlier?  Yeah, it didn't taste so good the second time either.

Dr. P told me I would feel some tugging but there would be no pain.  I asked how they would know if I was completely numb before making the incision.  She said they would test it out first.

Tony was brought into the room and he sat by my head.  He held my hand and we just looked at each other, both of us crying.  (Remember, I didn't STOP crying)  Immediately after he was brought in, he had barely sat down, we had a baby!  Baby A was born at 8:27pm and Baby B was born at 8:28pm.  Both babies were shown to us very briefly and then whisked away.
Seeing our babies for the first time
Rylee Viola
Ayden James
When Tony first came in, I had felt a tapping, or a pat on my head.  It started out fairly light.  I thought it was maybe the anesthesiologist at first, but then the patting became more of a thump, thump and was getting harder and harder.  I asked Tony if that was him patting my head and it was!  He was holding my hand with one of his hands and patting beating my head with the other!  I know he was just trying to provide comfort, but out of his own nervousness, he was totally banging on my head!  We laughed about it then and we laugh about it now.  It was pretty funny.

I found out later that I had hemorrhaged during the c-section and lost quite a bit of blood.  I didn't know it at the time.  We could hear the doctors and nurses talking, but they do such a good job of staying calm that we didn't really know what was going on.  Although Tony said it was pretty scary.  Dr. P also told me later that it was a good thing we did the c-section because both babies had their cords wrapped around themselves.

Tony left when it was time for him to go be with the babies.  I dozed off a few times while I was laying there by myself.  At one point, the anesthesiologist asked me if I knew I stopped breathing when I fell asleep. Ummm, no!  Apparently, that would be the attributing factor to my oxygen dropping so low the prior days!  I had developed sleep apnea.

A little bit later, Sis came in to be with me in recovery.  She told me about the babies and showed me all the pictures.  I was so glad she could be there with me because I really didn't want to be alone, but it was more important to me that Tony was with the babies.
Daddy watching while they took care of the babies
It seemed like I had to stay in recovery for a super long time, but eventually they wheeled my hospital bed to the NICU so I could see the babies.  I was only able to see and hold Rylee because Ayden was hooked up to a c-pap at the time.  I didn't even really get to see him because I was stuck on the bed and he was in an isolate.  After only about 10 minutes, I was then taken to my hospital room.
Holding Rylee for the very first time

I was finally allowed to eat and drink, but they warned me not to take in very much because I would probably still be nauseous.  I ate a jello that I thought tasted pretty heavenly after not eating all day.  That is, it tasted pretty good until I threw that up minutes later.  Sooooo, I still didn't really eat until quite a bit later.

I had to stay on THE MAG after delivery as well.  It's used to prevent having a seizure or stroke due to the preeclampsia.  They monitored me pretty closely that night and the following day, checking my vitals frequently.  I was by myself that night because Tony stayed with the babies and Sis had to go home to her own family.  I was pretty much by myself the entire next day as well.  Tony checked in on me, but he spent pretty much the entire night and day providing that skin to skin contact with the babies, which is exactly where I wanted him to be.
He said the hardest part was watching them insert the IV, feeding tubes and seeing Ayden with the c-pap
He provided as much comfort to the babies as he could
Rylee holding on to Daddy's finger
Kangaroo Care
Thankfully, Ayden only needed the oxygen help for about 5 hours and they were able to remove the c-pap machine.  The IV stayed in for a few days to help him regulate his blood sugars.  Rylee was a rock star and only needed an IV for a little bit.  Both had their feeding tubes in for about two weeks.

Tony spent the next day following delivery with the babies, but he was also advocating really hard to get me down to the babies as well.  Finally, the doctor approved for me to be wheeled back to the NICU in my hospital bed.  I was only able to stay for about an hour, but I did get to hold both my babies.  Those pictures were posted here.

Getting to see them so little those first few days was incredibly difficult.  It was such a brief time I got to be with them their first 2 1/2 days.  I am beyond happy that Tony was able to be with them because I felt it was super important for the babies and for his relationship with them, but I felt feel like I missed out and didn't get that initial bonding time with them myself.  It hurts my heart right now just thinking about it.  I've waited so long to finally have a baby (I'm lucky I got two!), and I feel like I missed a huge chunk of the experience/bonding with them.  It sucks that I had to be so sick with the preeclampsia.

Enough gloom though!  While that part may have totally sucked, I am so happy to now be home with the babies.  They spent 19 days in the NICU, and we've now had them home for 3 weeks tomorrow.  I have healed well and the babies are both healthy (for the most part.  Rylee does have an issue with a hemangioma).  They are both getting so big, so fast!

We have a whole lot of cuteness going on in our house now!  Here's what the babies look like today:

They look a lot different and a lot bigger from just a few weeks ago!

They were so tiny!
Hopefully I don't have a whole lot of typos or grammatical errors here.  I have babies fussing and must go!  But I don't want to wait anymore to get this posted.  It's already taken me 4 days to write!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Mostly Picture Post

I have so much that I would like to write about: our birth story, life in the NICU, what it's been like since we've been home.... Let's just say it's been extremely busy and time is not my own anymore.  Our life is now run by two one month old preemies.  We are loving every minute of it, but it is truly exhausting!  I promise I will get to those other posts, but in order for me to put all my thoughts in writing, I am going to need more than just a few minutes at a time.

So I will leave you with some pictures of two of the cutest babies ever to tide you over!

After spending 19 days in the NICU, the babies were discharged and we were finally bringing them home!  It was very scary to think about having them home and being on our own, without them hooked up to the monitors that would alarm if something weren't right.  However, we have managed to keep them alive so far...

Ayden James

Rylee Viola

So VERY tiny in their car seats!

We had storks welcome us home!  It was a very sweet surprise done by a friend.

On the way home from a visit to the doctor

Rylee now weights 6 lbs

Ayden weights 7 lbs, 3 oz!

Snuggle time with Mommy and Daddy

I managed to catch a smile on camera!

He melts my heart

The babies celebrated their One Month Birthday yesterday!  I can't believe it's been one month already.

She wasn't so sure about this picture taking business

She talked her brother into not liking the pictures either.  Either that or he didn't like her screaming in his ear!

Mom and Dad decided to feed the babies and let them go to sleep before trying another attempt at pictures.  It worked!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

An Early Arrival

Boy do I have a lot to write about!  Unfortunately, I have virtually no time.  So I am mostly just going to share a bunch of pictures.  I hope to eventually have time to sit down and actually tell you the full story.

On December 23rd, at 33 weeks 2 days, our little babies were born.  It wasn't that they decided to come early, other than Baby A's water breaking.  Unfortunately it was my own body that decided it wasn't going to wait any longer.  Preeclampsia....


Baby A: Rylee Viola at 4 lbs 10 oz, 16 1/2 inches, born 12/23/13 at 8:27pm
Baby B: Ayden James at 5 lbs 4 oz, 18 3/4 inches, born 12/23/13 at 8:28pm

They wheeled my hospital bed into the NICU so I could see my babies briefly the next day after birth.
First family photo

Ayden on the left, Rylee on the right
I love my new little family

Feeling better, but super tired

Kangaroo time with Mommy

Kangaroo time with Daddy

They were holding hands.  Sweetest thing EVER!