"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" Proverbs 13:12




Thursday, June 20, 2013

Update- 6 weeks

Hi Friends,
THis blog will be a bit all over the place.  I will continue with my stories of the birth and onwards that I never got to blog about, I will write other posts about what I'm thinking and feeling.  But I figure its time for a proper update on the boys and how we are all going.

Well, at the 6 weeks mark the boys could not be better given their start.

I'll start with our big boy.  Connor was born at 2.2kg, and as of yesterday reached 3.2!  He's so funny, despite his small start he's always been fairly chunky looking, and he has the most adorable chubby cheeks.  He has big eyes and the most hilarious expressions, I'm constantly getting distracted from burping just watching his beautiful little face.  He is our little angel baby, already doing a couple of 5 hour stints overnight.  He gets very grumpy when he's due for a change or when he is ready for a feed, but the rest of the time he is placid and happy.  A few people have commented that every photo or every time they see him he is always asleep.  Which is a shame because his eyes are so beautiful. Once he's asleep he's asleep so he gets past around a lot when we are with family and friends.  He is feeding only on breast milk and has one bottle a day, but that's more for Daddy-bonding than anything else, he could cope with all breast feeds if we wanted.  The nurse yesterday said he was thriving!

Sebastian has had a crazy three weeks!  Three weeks ago he was transported to the Children's hospital with suspected either NEC, or a stricture or blockage in his bowel.  He was on a respirator and morphine, was super hungry because he was only allowed food from a drip and didn't look like himself.  It was very heart-breaking to watch, not just for us, but for our families who are already in love with their Grandson/nephews.  Praise God, both of those potential problems were ruled out and we found out he didn't need surgery.  The doctors hoped it was just immature gut, and began feeding him again, but warned us the huge hard tummy might return and it might all begin again.  The beds at the Children's were very tight, so they sent him back to my delivering hospital.  And within a few days he was feeding entirely by mouth, had completely normal bowel movements and was off all his monitoring.

The doctor was thrilled and to my shock, a week after he got back to the hospital he came home.  We still have some follow up appointments, but the doctor doesn't think they will amount to anything.  She said that I had to get out of my head that he was "the sick one", and just think of him as the "well, small baby".  She also said that she had been watching me with Connor, watching me handle everything, and she had no doubt that I was a terrific, calm Mum and that I could look after Seb better than the hospital.  It was such balm for my anxious soul.

Sebastian started at 1.4kg and today just hit the magical 2kgs!  He has been home for a week and is doing so well.  He also is on just breast milk, alternating bottle and breast, but the nurse was happy for me to increase the breast in the coming few days.  He feeds so well, though he never seems as small as when I'm feeding him, because he is just so tiny compared to his brother, who I have been feeding for longer.  He is a bit more unsettled than his brother, which worried me at first but the nurse assured me is fairly typical for a prem (it's fairly typical for a baby really but we were conditioned to think otherwise by his bro).  He loves cuddles and needs to be cuddled to sleep before you can put him down (and even then he wakes up and needs his dummy/paci to settle again).  He is very alert and stares at you so intently in the eye!  Lots of people comment he is like a little doll.  I call him my little pixie, because he often wears pointed hats and actually has a slightly pointed right ear :)

They both have Sandy hair and those dark blue eyes that babies start with.  Everyone has a different oppion about who they look like.  Connor has my olivey skin and Seb is very pale like his Dad and Nanna.

I am doing well.  It's been really nice, my family and various health professionals keep commenting on how calm and confident I am, and how well I've handled the last few months.   My family know that I am a stress head.  But I think after IF and such a stressful pregnancy, as long as my boys are okay then I can handle it.

Earl and I have a joke, because I love being a Mum and deal beautifully with most things, except in the middle of the night.  We joke I'm like Fiona from Shrek, I become an Ogre  when the sun goes down!  I do get very stressed and upset when I'm first waking up, or when Seb isn't sleeping.  But as I stare at them when feeding it all goes away.   This time is just a joy, and I am so very grateful for my boys.

Earl is on Paternity leave until tomorrow, so we'll see how I cope with less help.

And here is a photo as Toni requested :)

 
A few days before Seb went home.
 
Thanks for all your well wishes.  I have been shocking at commenting but am hoping to get back to you all.
love LG

Friday, June 14, 2013

Home!

It's almost too hard to believe, but my babies are home. I'm currently lying in bed next to Earl, who has Sebastian cradled in his arms. It's been so fast. Two weeks from children's hospital to this moment. But Sebastian is well, so well and so ready for this. And so are we.

I have no idea how this will all work. How do you look after twins? But we will figure it out.

Overcome with thankfulness!
Love LG

Ps Will write some more detailed posts when I can.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Birth Story Part 3-HDU

One of the sad things about a C-section is of course that you can't just spend every minute after your child's birth, with your babies.  When they are also in special care, it is even more difficult.  I went up to my hospital room, and we sent a message to family saying to come up to my room.  It was great!  As family arrived we showed them the photo and told them the names.  That way I got to "introduce" the boys, even though I couldn't be there for the actual meeting.  Then one by one our relatives went down stairs to see the boys. 

While they were down, the nurse came and taught me how to express colostrum by hand and collect it in a syringe.  It was a wonderful feeling, to know even though I wasn't with my boys, that I could provide for them.

As the afternoon progressed, a new nurse took over my care.  I had been at hospital for a while, and I found this nurse my least favourite.  She checked my blood pressure and commented that it was too high.  I wasn't too worried, I'd had occasional spikes, but it always went down again.  And afterall, I'd had the boys, surely pre-eclampcia was in my past?

She kept coming back to check.  I was getting annoyed.  She told me my visitors were making my blood pressure go up.  I wanted to snap back that she was the one making it go up.  But one reading even I started to feel worried.  My hospital room-mate had suffered from high blood pressure, and I knew what was a dangerous level.  She had given me a tablet, but it hadn't worked.

Her boss came in to talk to me.  She told me she was sorry but I wouldn't see my boys that night  (I of course burst into tears).  She said the most important thing for them was that I was okay, and at the moment I wasn't. She wanted to put me on Magnesium Sulfate, which should bring my pressure down.  I also needed full time care, more than one midwife shared over 3 other women could offer.  She would take me to birth-suite (where they administered the MS), and then the next day to the High Dependency Ward.

So I said goodbye to everyone and was moved down to birth- suite.  The midwives there were lovely.  The MS, plus all the pain killers did the trick, and even though I was woken up every hour to have my bp checked, I was asleep almost instantly.  Despite constant comments "You need to prioritise your own health", I kept insisting on expressing regularly, and the milk was sent to the boys.  It was the only thing that kept me going, knowing that those I wasn't with them, I was able to look after them through my milk.

The next day was almost entirely horrid.

I was moved up to HDU, and luckily got one more peep at the boys as they took my bed upstairs.  They were now next to each other, and I got another chance to touch and say hello.  Then on to HDU.  Now, even though this ward was especially designed so that each women would have one nurse, I suddenly felt alone.  I asked the nurse, "can I have some help with expressing?", she looked at me and said "I'm not a midwife, I don't know how".  I asked if a midwife could see me, she said "Maybe, but they are busy on their own wards".  I asked when I would see a doctor.  She said "They are busy, when they have time".  Then she left me alone, unless she was checking my bp.

At one stage the room became to move.  I cried out "Help, Help".  The nurse came in and said "Oh, that's just a side-effect".  Oh...well, some notice would be nice.  Anytime I raised or lowered my bed it would happen again.

I ended up calling Earl in tears, and asking him to come in earlier than we had planned and see me.

When the nurse asked what was wrong I swallowed my usual "don't want to cause a fuss" attitude and said, "I thought this ward was about extra care, but I'm on my own most of the time".  She apologised and said she would ring a nurse.

Earl arrived and looked after me, though he ended up leaving regularly to see the boys.  He brought photos too, photos of his first ever nappy change, his first cuddle with Sebastian, Connor with his oxygen mask now a thing of the past.  It made me both happy and sad. 

He also went down stairs and insisted a nurse come and see me.  She taught Earl how to use the syringe so that we could collect the colostrum without a nurse.

A doctor came and told me that they normally keep people on Magnesium for 24 hours, and would probably keep me in HDU for another night.  I wanted to cry.  That would mean no visit to the boys.

But then my doctor showed up.  She said "This is ridiculous, you are doing well, you have to see your boys!".

So she insisted they take me off the MS.  And after 2 hours with no major rise in bp, I was moved down to the ward.  Almost immediately my favourite mid-wife was there to take me down stairs in a wheel chair. 

I was about to see my boys, properly!

LG

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Birth Story- The Op

Did you know my boys are 1 month today.  Crazy. Crazy that one month on Sebbie is still in hospital :(  But it has been an amazing month, despite the drama, and I am so, so very happy that despite hiccups, my boys are actually doing well.

So, one month ago today (I just checked the clock, it is literally one month ago today!!!), what was I doing.  I was sitting on a hospital bed shaking.  Seriously, I am usually a pro at medical procedures.  In my first egg pick up, slightly wonky on drugs, I told Earl "Wow, this is so much fun".  But I am usually not fazed.  But then, usually a procedure doesn't involve having a neddle stuck in your spine!

I was shaking.  Literally shaking.  I kept thinking about our friend who is an anethetist and wishing we had paid him to travel to our state and do this procedure because I couldn't think of anyone besides him I would be comfortable giving this job to.

The compounder of the problem was that Earl wasn't there, and I had no notice of that.  Earl had been asked to dress up in scrubs, and when I asked when he was going to come in they said "We don't let partners in during the spinal, they usually freak out".  WHAT!  The scariest part of the procedure and I'm all alone.  Then I had one of those profound- ops, I'm never alone moments and I started to pray.

The scariest thing was that I had something to do.  I had to bend over and keep still.  What if I moved and my spine was ruined?

The local anaesthetic went in fine.  It hurt for a minute, but then it stopped.  And suddenly all my fear went away.  But I asked again, can my husband come in?  And they said no.

I found out later Earl was outside the operating theatre panicking.  Was I okay?  Would they forget to let him in?

The Spinal went in.  Can he come in yet?  No.  I lay down on the bed.  Can he come in yet?  No.

It wasn't until I was lying down Jesus style (they put your arms out straight, weird hey?), with the curtain up, that Earl could finally join me.

By this point I was no longer scared, just very very excited (I actually started cracking jokes at that point, the nurses said I was one of the most calm patients they ever had).  I was a little nervous for the boys, but had heard their happy heart beats that morning so not as scared as you'd think.

Earl sat rubbing my head, and the anaesthetist (who was in the end lovely) talked us through the process.

And then, with strange sounds like a cappuccino frother, and strange tugging I heard the words "Twin 1 is out".  I listened for a scary 5 seconds, and then I heard his cry.  It was so beautiful I started crying and Earl and I said "It's Connor, that's our Connor".

The cool thing was that the Paediatric table that was set up to examine and care for Connor was actually within my sight on my side of the sheet, so I got to spy him from a distance.  Which was good because I didn't get to see him again for another hour.

At this point Earl got up from my side and went to look at him, he and the Anaesthetist took over the commentary, Earl on how the babies were doing, the Anaesthetist on the procedure.

Then the same sounds and feelings and "Twin 2 is out".  Now that this point I got scared.  My little Dancer, was he going to be okay.  But his cry was almost instantaneous.  That sound, of two boys crying together, was the best sound of my life.  We started telling the team the names, and it felt so nice actually saying them out loud to people.  It was also special hearing people start to talk about them with those names.

At this point, Connor stopped crying and needed some oxygen.  I couldn't believe it.  After everything, it was BH who needed initial help!  But Earl was chatting to the Peds and was very reassuring that this was normal and not a sign of a problem.

Then they began to stitch me up.  Then Earl was giving the choice- would he stay with me or go with the boys.  I had pondered how I would feel, but at that point there was no question.  We both wanted him with the boys.  But before they left, the Ped brought Seb over for a quick kiss.  I told him, "Mummy loves you" like I had a million times in the womb.  It was very emotional.

The stitching up was funny, because the main doctor was actually instructing her registrar how to sew me up.  Again, could have freaked me out, but didn't.  As I sat there, I longed more than anything to hear about the boys.  I didn't have to wait long.  Earl came in, looking as proud and excited as I had ever seen him.  He had with him two photos of our beautiful boys.  Connor was on Oxygen and looked a bit strange (they put it through his nose) and Seb was wrapped in bubble wrap for warmth.  But they were so beautiful.  Earl then ran off to the boys, a sight I would grow very used to in the coming day.

Once I had been in recovering for about 30 minutes, my bed was actually rolled to the special care nursery so I could see my boys.  I got to reach in and touch them briefly, and again tell them how much I loved them.  I was told that I would be wheeled down in a chair later that night for a proper cuddle.  But, things didn't turn out quite like that.

Having a C-section is a scary thing, and isn't what you dream of.  But to be honest, it will go down as a highlight of my life.
LG

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hiccups

Oh, how many posts I have written in my head these last weeks.  Many happy posts about how my beautiful boys came into the world, all their cuteness and growth.  And this time last week, I thought about writing about my excitement that Connor was coming home, and that Sebastian was doing so well that it seemed certain that he would follow soon.

But then everything went pear-shaped.

In the lead up to the boys birth I read a lot of stories of the NICU world.  How many times did I think that we had it so easy?  Our boys were doing so well!

Last Thursday night, I was staying in at the hospital, with Connor rooming in so I could get used to caring for him.  It was going really well.  At 3am the phone in my room rang and I grumbled to myself because I was worried they would wake up Connor and I was really tired.

It was Sebastian.  He wasn't well.

Several times Sebastian had been struggling with his feeds.  There had been a few scary moments of worrying if he had NEC.  NEC is a pretty serious gut problem common in Premmies, and can have life long consequences, and if not caught can be fatal.  Every time they were worried they would do an X-ray but it came back normal.

That Thursday it was abnormal.

Earl and I, instead of looking after Connor, found ourselves spending the night petrified for our little Sebie boy.

His blood tests weren't bad, which eased our mind that it probably wasn't NEC.  But the doctor did not know what it was.  And so that day Sebastian went to the Royal Children's Hospital so that he could be investigated by the top Paediatric surgeons of Australia.

Two days later, Connor came home.

It's been mad.

The good news is that Sebastian does not seem to have any life-affecting bowel issues.  We still are investigating possibilities, and Sebastian is only now returning to milk, which means that his return home is even more delayed that we originally thought.  But he is well, and the doctors are happy and it is a huge relief.  No body that Thursday would have expected such a good outcome on all his tests.

The other good news is that Connor has been a darling.  Really, life at home has been a delight.  Earl and I are constantly gushing about how beautiful he is, how fun and special.  We love him like you wouldn't believe.  But it does feel weird, we feel incredibly bonded with Connor, and then we go and have our three hours with Sebastian and it doesn't seem the same.  I feel guilty that our boys are so unequally shared between us.  We love Sebastian desperately, and we think and pray for him all the time.  But it's not the same as being able to love him in person, all day, every day.

It makes us even more desperate to have him home.  To have them home, together.  To start this life that we are getting glimpses of but that isn't quite real yet.

I will continue with my birth story.  I would also love to write a post about each of the boys and what they are like.  And I'd love to share about how IF has impacted everything.

But I wanted to update on what has been happening.
Love LG