Monday, September 1, 2014

Hospital Withdrawals

You know you've spent too much time in the hospital when:


  • You are surprised by carpet under your feet and not cold linoleum every time you get out of bed.
  • You feel the need to report every bodily function to someone
  • You find yourself dialing "3663" on your phone to order food but no one ever answers
  • You regularly look for the button on the bed that will help you sit up.
  • You still wake up every 2 hours expecting the nurse to come take your vital signs
Even though I'm going through withdrawals from the amazing Cream Cheese Cookies I had at every meal, I'm so glad to be home.  And Eliza tells me every day "Glad you are home Momma!" We can't wait until we can bring Abigail and Kaitlin home with us too. 

Eliza playing in the lockers in the Family Room at the NICU
Kaitlin had her right chest tube removed today! The left chest tube had no "bubbles" for 18 hours and then had some between 6 and 7am, but the latest X-ray at 11:00am didn't show any air pockets. We're feeling much more optimistic than we were on Saturday. Thank you thank you thank you for all of your prayers and fasting and thoughts and meditations for our Kaitlin, we definitely feel them and feel that Kaitlin is making great improvement already. We just need the left lung to heal now!

Abigail is doing GREAT! I got to hold her for an hour last night skin to skin! She was pretty fussy until they put her on my chest, then she calmed right down and just wanted to look around. I think she didn't want to miss anything, she seemed to be struggling to stay awake. After about 30 minutes she fell asleep and was the most peaceful little thing. Holding her almost feels like holding a beanie baby or small stuffed animal on your chest, just so little and light. One of the nurses also put a purple bow in her hair!

Eliza has now seen the girls twice! She loves her baby sisters already and is very interested in touching them when we visit. She loves visiting the hospital even when we don't take her into the NICU. She played at a neighbor's house yesterday and was driving a little car they have saying "I'm driving to the hospital!" She's incredibly patient and compassionate. If I wince in pain she will come right over, pat my arm and say "It's OK Momma!" The other day I told her my belly hurt so she leaned over, kissed my belly and said "Feel better Momma!" 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Update on the Twins, Prayers Needed

When it looks like you'll have a baby in he NICU the first thing they tell you is that it's going to be a roller coaster. They tell you a lot of other things, potential problems, health concerns, possible developmental delays, but they tell you that they just don't know exactly how your baby will respond to any of those things and that your baby could have none of those problems. Both of those scenarios describe our twins right now.  If you didn't hear it from Facebook, or directly from us, the twins were born a week ago on Friday, August 22 at 26 weeks.

Baby Girl A, Abigail, was the one who's water broke. She is the smaller of the two girls weighing 1lb 15 oz. They had a harder time getting her lines in after she was born, a harder time initially getting her on the ventilator and such. But since then she has been great! Her gut is a little immature, but being born at 26 weeks the gut hasn't really developed yet, so she's been on and off of feedings. She has been on and off the light for jaundice as her billyrubin levels have been up and down. But none of these things is major and all are completely normal for a preemie of her developmental age. She's doing great, is on the lowest ventilator setting, and I've been able to hold her twice now!

Baby Girl B, Kaitlin, is on the other end of the spectrum. She was so active in my womb, always dancing and kicking. She was bigger at 2lb 1oz and her water was still intact. She did have the cord wrapped around her neck, but she cried at birth, responded quicker to the ventilator, and just all around seemed healthier for the first 24ish hours. Then she developed a hole in her lung and needed a chest tube put in on her left.  The doctor said it was normal and would only be for 1-3 days likely. We're currently on day 8. She's not making red blood cells the way they want her to so they gave her a medicine to help (I need to take better notes to recall which medicine it was) and she didn't respond, so last night they gave her a blood transfusion. Her white blood cell count is up as well as a few other things, so she has an infection and is on antibiotics. She's on pain medication and on and off of morphine which means she's not as active as Abigail and looks quite bloated. Her gut is also immature but with Kaitlin they've had to completely stop feedings for a while. She's also been under the lights. She has a murmur in her heart, but it's in a different place than they would expect, so that has the doctors and her cardiologist concerned. And last night she developed another hole, this time in her right lung.  She's just not healing the way they want her to, and she seems to be fighting on all sides right now. We met with her doctor today and they want to give her a muscle relaxer that will allow them to completely control her breathing with the idea that it will allow the lungs to rest and heal. She will not be able to move during this time. It's hard to hear about these things as her parents.

We've decided to do a special fast for Kaitlin tomorrow, August 31st. It's not Fast Sunday, but we don't want to wait a week, Kaitlin needs extra help right now. If you would like to join us we would certainly appreciate it. If you feel you cannot fast, we would love it if you would keep Kaitlin in your prayers, thoughts, or meditations.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Week In

Eliza and my birthday ballons
Today is Day 7 being on hospital bed rest and as of 10:30pm it will have been a week since my water broke. So, here's an update:

Things are. . . the same.

Yep, nothing new to report. I'm still on bedrest. I'm still not having contractions.  The babies still look good. I'm off the constant monitoring of the babies, now it happens twice a day, right after I wake up and right before I go to sleep at night. And they look great.  We have learned from this that Baby A is pretty dependable, she's in the same place every day and it's easy to find her heartbeat. Baby B is our mover. She likes to run away from the monitor.  Just when the nurse is sure she has both babies heartbeats and walks out of the room Baby B will move and the nurse has to come in and reposition. The bad news about this is that sometimes it means I'm on the monitor for a LONG time. The good news is that I get more ultrasounds because she's such a stinker they need help finding her. I love any chance I get to see my babies and any chance I get to hear their hearts beating. I'm really curious to see what their personalities are like after they get here and if Baby B will be our feisty girl and Baby A will be our calm girl, or if Baby A is just calm because she can't move because her sister is sitting on top of her. (Just for the future Baby B, it is NOT acceptable to sit on your sister once you are out of the womb.) And we're testing out names for the babies so we don't have to keep calling them Baby A and Baby B. 

The exciting parts of my day include when I get to get up and shower and when Shawn and Eliza come to visit. I have things to do, knitting, a book to read, a photography class to complete. But I have to say I'm getting a little bit tired of these four walls. I haven't been out of this room since Sunday. I think a little field trip is in order! I'm setting up baby registries online and putting together photo books. I tried browsing clothes for "after" but that got a little depressing. 

There's your update.  Medically things are status quo. Otherwise I'm getting a little antsy. Feel free to text, call, email, send random jokes or inspirational articles!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blessings

Just a cute picture of Eliza that has nothing to do with this post
I feel like I don't write much religious stuff on my blog. I think I've posted that I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or I'm a Mormon. I just want to take a post to mention all the blessings that have come from the last few days.

Once we were told to go to the hospital Thursday night we had Lance (Shawn's brother) come over to stay with Eliza (first blessing, family nearby!) As soon as he got there he and Shawn gave me a Priesthood Blessing and immediately my worry went away and I was overwhelmed with peace. I was told in the blessing that we would receive the best possible outcome, that everything would be OK. Of course in my head I was hoping that meant my water hadn't ruptured and something else happened.

I felt that peace throughout Thursday night and Friday. And really we have been incredibly blessed by this situation. It is true that we are having the best possible scenario given the circumstances. I am not contracting, the babies look good, and my cervix is closed. I don't have an infection, and we are all healthy.

One huge concern I had was that my parents were at the family cabin and didn't plan on getting home until Saturday. And there's no cell coverage at the cabin. I texted them as soon as we found out what was going on, and then called them again the next morning, knowing that it would be hours to days before they got the messages. I just kept praying that they would need to get to a place with cell phone service for some reason. I called and texted my siblings (usually my Mom's job) and let them know what was going on and also that Mom and Dad were at the cabin.  My brother immediately responded and said he'd go get Mom and Dad.  My sister responded and just said she was on her way to the hospital
. My other sister said she'd stay at our house with Eliza that night and also take Scooter for several days. Amazing. My family jumped in just how I needed them.

And of course Shawn's family has been helpful too from Lance coming over Thursday night, to Dena getting us transferred to her OB practice in the middle of the night and also just being a reassuring presence who understands exactly what's going on.  Shawn's family is spread around more but each of them have been in touch and his parents are coming to take care of Eliza as much as we need.

Ward members mowed our lawn, we have more offers to take care of Eliza than we can utilize, and I can very much feel the prayers being said on our behalf. One small blessing that is very personal to me, one night I was in so much pain from the IV, just really suffering and feeling like every drip of antibiotic was a knife slicing through my hand. I was crying and I knew that nothing could take away the pain. I prayed and prayed for help. And then I thought of my babies and how I was going through this for them, and how if this really minimal pain would keep them safe longer I was completely willing to do it, and before long the pain disappeared and I was fine. I am grateful for that experience.

I have a testimony that there is a God, a kind, loving Heavenly Father who knows me as a daughter, an individual. He knows my fears, my wants, and my needs. He knows my baby girls better than I know them. I know that there is a purpose to this time and I may not get to understand it yet, but I have faith that there is a reason for all of this. I feel His love as I lay here in the hospital. I know He is also watching out for my Shawn and my Eliza. I am not alone in this.  The misery and pain and lonliness is not just felt by me, but is felt by my little family, and that makes me want to be brave for them. We will all get through this time. We will come out stronger on the other end.

Update

It's a good thing I had that lovely walk with Eliza Thursday morning because that night my water broke! I'm only 25 weeks! I had just turned out my light to go to sleep and felt a little trickle, and thought that's not right. I got up and the trickle turned into a gush. (sorry if that's too much information!) I woke up Shawn (who thought I had just lost bladder control, but I think that's what we were both secretly hoping for) and we called my OB.  She said I had two options, head to hospital A or head to hospital B, and then be transferred to hospital A. We were closer to A anyway so that's where we went.  And they confirmed that my water broke. And then told us what we didn't want to hear. That I wasn't going to be leaving the hospital any time soon. So, if you don't want in depth information, here's the Cliff Notes version: I'm in the hospital until I deliver the babies.  We're hoping I make it to 34 weeks which means a little over 8 weeks in the hospital. I'm not contracting and the babies look good, so we're very optimistic. We have family taking care of Eliza, and Shawn's been here with me all weekend but will go back to work on Monday.  We need him to be able to take as much time off as possible once the babies do come!

OK, here's the long version.

After being all night at hospital A getting checked out, monitoring the babies, getting my first dose of steroids to help the girl's lungs develop, and lots of antibiotics in case of infection, we found out that the NICU at that hospital was full, so they were transferring us to Hospital C! We tried to sleep while waiting for the ambulance to take me away, but really neither of us could sleep so we were up all night.  Finally around 5:30 am the ambulance came and I was taken 30 minutes away to Hospital C complete with lights and sirens.  Very surreal.  I kept asking myself if I was going to wake up in my own bed.  It's also strange to leave your sleeping child in the middle of the night and then find out you aren't going to be going home for 2 months! No more of my bed! I left dirty dishes in the sink! I was going to paint flowers on the wall in Eliza's new big girl room! I was going to move her to a big girl bed! I was going to get her hair cut! Now I won't be doing any of those things!

The first 48 hours after your water breaks most women go into labor and give birth. So, for us it was a "let's get past 48 hours" waiting game. My regular OB does not deliver here, so I've been transferred to a new practice, which is a blessing because my sister-in-law, Dena is a midwife with that practice and was able to pull some 4am strings as soon as she found out we were coming here and so we're in her practice.  Everyone speaks very highly of them, and so far we like all the doctors we've met.

We had another ultrasound which confirmed the babies look great. Baby A is 1lb 13 oz and is the one whose water broke. Baby B is 2lb even and is a couple of days ahead of Baby A. But all the anatomy is right on, their hearts look good, and other than being low on amniotic fluid around Baby A, they babies are perfect! (Oh, and I'll continue to produce amniotic fluid, so they'll still be some around Baby A at all times, just lower than Baby B.) We've learned about the risk signs for early labor or for other things that can go wrong (infection, prolapsed cord, placenta previa) and are watching out for those. But I'm not having contractions, my blood pressure is good, and no fever so really, we have the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

The first 48 hours I had to be monitored constantly with three monitors on my belly, one for each baby and one for my uterus to measure contractions. I also had two IV antibiotics. It was just annoying because any time I would move the monitors would also need to be moved.  And we have learned that Baby B is our dancer, she likes to dance and move around. Just when you think you have found her on the monitor she will duck away somewhere else. One of the babies had hiccups the other day which made it so we couldn't find the heartbeats for either baby. While annoying, it's also so comforting to hear the heartbeats or look over and see them up on the screen.

One of the two antibiotics I received was incredibly painful for some reason. It just felt like my arm was being sliced open every time it would drip into my vein.  I went through 5 out of 8 doses and then a nurse noticed that my arm around the IV was getting hard so they would need to start a new IV, and the doctor said that I could switch to oral antibiotics! First victory! No more arm pain, and one less cord to drag behind me when I get up to use the bathroom.

Sleep the last two nights here in the hospital has been elusive mostly due to the monitors. Even just adjusting an inch or two to get more comfortable knocks the monitors or moves the babies and they have to come readjust. Plus I still get to take pills in the middle of the night AND they check my vitals every couple of hours.  I've had to take some sleeping pills, but am hoping tonight I can get to sleep on my own.

But the biggest happiest news of all came this morning when they said they could take the monitors off! YAY! I will still get checked twice a day for about 30 minutes but I can move without worrying, I can go to the bathroom without having to get unplugged, and I can see and feel my belly again! AND I also got wheelchair privileges twice a day, and included in that I can shower! So this morning I showered and washed my hair and finally feel clean and a bit better.  Here's a "photo booth" picture of me. Hospital Day 3, wet hair (which is why it looks so dark) and no makeup.  But feeling in good spirits.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Small Moment to Remember

Eliza and I took a walk to the neighborhood park today. That's a major accomplishment for me lately, I walk at a slow waddle when I'm feeling good, and sadly getting dressed has become more optional than not. But I woke up feeling good and it was still below 80 degrees at 11:00am, so off to the park we went. I pushed Eliza in her stroller and we slowly made our way the 1/3 mile to the neighborhood park with slides. I was regretting the decision not to wear my maternity support belt by the time I got across the street from my house. But we made it in good time and Eliza enjoyed herself. I did my best to follow her around but take advantage of shade and places to sit. When it was time to go home Eliza wanted to walk rather than be in her stroller. Off she ran as 2 year olds do. Her whole body gets into the run, with her elbows swinging back and forth and her torso twisting from side to side as she runs. We stopped at a nice bench in the shade and drank a little water while talking about the wind and the sounds we heard. Soon some kids came out of their yard to play on the parkway and Eliza went over to say hi.  The nice teenagers gave her a ball to throw, which she decided she wanted to take home instead, but what a pretty good sport when I told her to give it back. We continued on our way and she yelled "Goodbye kids! See you later!" over and over again.  Off she ran once more, but then she turned back, ran to my side and held my hand for the rest of the walk home.  And that's the small moment I want to remember, my two year old grabbing my hand as we walked home from the park. There's not much I can easily do these days. Getting down on the floor to play is too hard. Running in the back yard is impossible. Even getting up to dance with her requires major effort these days. I'm basically the size of my full term self when I was pregnant with Eliza but I still have three months to go. So doing little things like walking and holding hands is a pretty big deal for us right now, and it feels wonderful to spend this one on one time with her while I can.

(Right now it's after "nap time" and she's still playing in her crib.  I'm sitting in the chair in her room and she's roaring at me like a lion and asking me to roar back.  Anytime, Baby Girl, especially because it makes you smile and giggle.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Some News, and Explanation, and Q&A

So, I've been taking a little bit of a vacation from the blog for a few months. I have a really great excuse! I'm pregnant! And it's been a pretty rough road. And I've been sick and complaining, so I've been afraid if I blogged I would just do nothing but complain, so I've taken a pre-natal leave. But I do want to document this pregnancy for myself at least, so here I am, with at least one blog post.  If I'm lucky I'll also write about our summer adventures and maybe Eliza's second birthday. If I'm not lucky the next time I write on the blog will be after I give birth.

So, for the REALLY big news (as if being pregnant isn't big enough) we're having TWINS! TWO BABIES! CRAZY! I still can't believe it. I've started writing about this a few times and every time it's been pretty long and verbose, so I'm going to do a pretend Q&A and see if I can make it less complaining and wordy and more interesting.

So, twins? Do they run in your family? Did you know you were having twins? I kind of feel like both of these questions can actually mean "were you on fertility drugs, is that why you are having twins?" And the answer is no, these twins were conceived "naturally." We didn't expect to have twins. We threw it around before Eliza, "wouldn't it be cool to have twins?" but that's pretty much it. My great grandmother did have twins, but none of her kids or grandkids had twins. So, my doctor said that it does not run in my family. But women in the 35-40 age bracket are more likely to have twins, so there's that.

As for if we KNEW we were having twins, well, I had a suspicion. This pregnancy has been SO MUCH HARDER than when I was pregnant with Eliza. I was SO EXCITED to find out I was pregnant, and then about a week after I found out I was pregnant the morning sickness hit hard and fast. And just went downhill from there. It got so bad that I could barely get out of bed, let alone take care of Eliza. My Mom and my neighbors stepped in and took Eliza pretty much every week day to give me time to rest. And I've been on nausea medication almost the entire time. Around 8 weeks I ended up at the doctor's office to get an IV to treat the nausea and dehydration and then again around 12 weeks. So, part of me felt like "this had better be twins because this is so much worse than Eliza!" And at some point every time I thought of the baby I would say "babies" in my head and I didn't know why. So, some part of me knew, or hoped, that it was twins. But then I would decide I was just being crazy and I didn't want to be the crazy pregnant woman who thought she was having twins, so I would convince myself it was just one baby.

So, how did you find out it was twins? My first actual prenatal appointment with the nurse was at 9 weeks and 5 days. (But as an aside, it's crazy to me how specific you get during pregnancy, 9 weeks and 5 days? Pretty soon they'll add hours and minutes to that!) Shawn and I had a conversation the night before the appointment about how I felt like it was twins but didn't want to be the crazy lady and didn't want to be disappointed if it was only one baby. That night I had a dream that it was one baby and I was totally and completely at peace with one baby. Luckily, Shawn was able to come to the appointment. My doctor's office has a portable ultrasound machine that's about the size of a cell phone. The ultrasound is the end of the appointment, so we talked about everything, she checked me out and said everything felt normal and I used that as justification "see, it's NOT twins or it would be different!" Then she pulled out the ultrasound and said "there's a cyst on your left ovary and there's you're baby and there's your other baby, you're having TWINS!" And part of me was like "Wait, what about the cyst?" and then it was like "WAIT, did you say TWINS?!" And I felt like screaming "I knew it!" and "WHAT?!" at the same time. It was amazing. Right up there with finding out that Eliza was a girl. We were in shock, but it was so clear on the ultrasound that it was twins. We could see two little tiny babies and two hearts beating. Amazing. That was on Friday, and they scheduled us for a "real" ultrasound with the big ultrasound machine and the real ultrasound doctor for Monday to "diagnose" twins. I was so scared that something was going to happen over the weekend that we only told our family members, and kept silent at church (THAT WAS HARD!) but we made it to the ultrasound. Shawn got to come again. When the doctor said "so we're confirming twins today?" We said, "just make sure it's not three!" And sure enough, once again there were two babies inside of me, with two sacs and two placenta (which makes them fraternal, or di/di twins if you speak twin).

Are they boys? Girls? A boy and a girl? I've suspected all along, from day one of the pregnancy that I was having a girl, so when people would ask what they were I'd say that at least one of them was a girl. But Shawn and I both really felt that the other twin was a boy. And I was SO excited to have a boy and a girl. We were so positive that when the ultrasound said Twin A was a girl I was like "Yeah, I knew that one was a girl, now just confirm that Twin B is a boy and we're good to go." So, when she said that Twin B was a GIRL, I said "Are you sure? I think it's a boy." And she said very definitely "It's a girl." So, we're having TWO GIRLS! I'm so excited to have two girls, and to dress them alike sometimes and for more bows and pink girly things. But, if I'm perfectly honest, I'm disappointed we're not having a boy. I want Shawn to have a son. I want him to get to raise a boy, I want Eliza and Twin A to have a brother. But at this point, I don't think I can get pregnant again. It's too hard. And when I ask Shawn he says "We'd probably just have two more girls if we try again!"

Two girls? Do you have names picked out?! We've got our favorite names, but nothing is feeling quite as right as Eliza felt when we picked her name. And every time we think we've got it narrowed down one of us says "But what about. . ." So, nothing is decided yet.

So, how is twin pregnancy? How is it different than just one? Ok, I've already said that the morning sickness has been so much worse with this pregnancy. With Eliza it was gone by 18 weeks. But here we are at 23 weeks and I'm still experiencing morning sickness, and still on medication. I was starting to feel great, and forgot to take my pills one night and felt GREAT the next day. More energy, not nauseous at all, great! So, I decided to go off of the medication. And the second day was HORRIBLE. The morning sickness was awful. So, I went back on the medication. And while I feel OK with the medication, I don't feel great. I still get nauseous, especially after I eat, so I try to make sure I never have an empty stomach. Other than that, I'm tired all the time. They talk about second trimester energy, and I'm wondering where that is. I run out of energy really fast. Shawn tries to convince me to get one of those electronic shopping carts when we go to the grocery store. I'm huge. Not for 40 weeks, but when you remember I'm 23 weeks I'm huge. And I'm getting huge so much faster than with Eliza. It's like I can feel my belly growing and expanding. And it feels heavier. I also get woken up in the middle of the night with babies kicking. That never happened with Eliza. I take more vitamins than with Eliza, the regular prenatals, plus additional calcium, folic acid, and iron. And of course the morning sickness pills. So far we've had one "extra" ultrasound at 10 weeks to diagnose twins. But up until now the doctor visit schedule has been the same. After 24 weeks I'll start going to the doctor every 2 weeks. After 32 weeks I'll go every week. I have another ultrasound at 28 weeks and then I'll have them every 2-4 weeks. I'll also start getting Non-Stress Tests every 4-6 weeks at some point.

What were those morning sickness pills you're on? About day 3 of morning sickness (about 6 weeks pregnant) we called my sister-in-law who is a midwife to find out about the Vitamin B6 & Unisom combination, and what the dosage is, and she offered to write a prescription for Zofran. I took that with Eliza and it made the nausea worse, but she had a slightly different kind, so I tried it. It worked for about a day. So I called my OB the next Monday (it had been a Saturday when we talked to my sister in law) and they recommended a new medication called Diclegis. It was new on the market, the only one specifically for morning sickness, and the only one that was Class A. You start out with 2 pills at night. If they don't work you take two at night and one in the morning, if that doesn't work you add one in the afternoon. Until about 15 weeks I took four pills a day, then until about 18 weeks I was down at 3, and now I'm down to the two at night. I'll try to go off again in a few weeks, but I might end up taking this my entire pregnancy.

So, that's it! It's still a long post, but not nearly as "complainy" as I was worried it would be. It's been a LONG 23 weeks. My doctor won't let me go past 38 weeks, so I feel like it's going to be another LONG 15 weeks!