Saturday, January 4, 2014


Violet and Lucy are home, safe and sound. Lochlan is taking it really well. When they cry, he says "baby, baby!" and tries to give them a pacifier or a bottle. When I change their diapers, I hand them to him and say, "take to the trash, please" -- and he does, it is awesome. They are eating well, sleeping well, getting along. They cuddle, hold hands. Their cries and sneezes are ridiculously girlish; I didn't know they could be, I thought being "girly" was nuture, but it really is nature. I love it, ha! Life is wonderful.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

1 month old! - An update.

       This is my sweet baby girl Lucy this morning. I can't believe they are one month old (and outgrowing preemie clothes). Lucy came home on Christmas Eve, a lovely, very welcomed surprise. I visited them two days before it, and they still had their feeding tubes in, but I was able to hold them at the same time--for the first time. They must have had their tubes taken out the next day, which happened to be my birthday. Nice little present to me. Lucy has been a peach, and it is has been so natural having her home. I was worried about bringing her home and how my son would react but he has been taking it very well. When she cries, he goes over to her and says "baby!" and tries to give her a bottle or her pacifer. It's really precious.
Lochlan and Lucy
        Violet is still in the NICU because she had a few episodes of apnea of prematurity. It is very common. They forget to breathe for longer than 10 seconds; she has been doing this while eating. I believe I passed along my cold to them and her being all stuffed up is really the culprit. Nevertheless, she cannot be discharged until it has been 2 days since her last episode. To my knowledge, her last one was on Christmas day. I am currently waiting on a phone call back from their doctor about what the plan is, if there is one. It is Saturday and things can go slow like molasses in a hospital on a Saturday. So, while the babies are napping, I am updating.
         I have been healing just fine from the surgery. Getting a cold definitely prolonged my recovery, though. The coughing was very hard on my incision site. Today at the 1 month mark, I feel much, much better. Very tired, very happy, and much, much better. The anxiety of the pregnancy has officially been released. Now I am patiently waiting for the NICU days to be over. It has been nice to get some one-on-one time with Lucy but I am ready now to feel whole at home.
       People always want to try to convince you that parenthood is the hardest thing in the world. It has been very natural to Gavin and me, having them here and taking care of them, and spending our lives with them. We know when they are all 3 years old together, we will probably be pulling our hair out--but for now, we agree, life is good. There will always be naysayers.
        I just wanted to make a note about my previous post, my c section story. Everyone's birth story is different. Whatever your opinion of how you interpret my story to be, really doesn't matter. I'm telling you EXACTLY how it felt to me. And if you are pregnant and fearing a c section, all I can say is, whether you have the biggest panic attack over having your body paralyzed and numb from the waist down in under 5 minutes flat, or whether that is your idea of a relaxing spa moment -- the whole thing is over in 45 minutes - 1 hour tops. And in another hour after that, you will regain feeling. Slowly, but surely. It will all be okay, everything will be okay. On the bright side, vaginal delivery is no fucking picnic either. But always remember -- if mothers never forgot the pain of birth, there would be very little siblings in the world!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Birth & The NICU

My son is napping in a footed fleece pajama onesie with snowmen on it, out the window looks like a snowglobe, I have the Fireplace popping on my TV screen (hey, it's a New York apartment--no chance of a real one), and all is calm for a moment. I have a mild cold so I am unable to spend time with the girls until it passes. Seizing the opportunity to update my risky twin blog.

Thanksgiving was on the 28th this year, so by the time the morning of the 30th came along, I was still kind of in a white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake coma. My father, my mother, her significant other, and my husband all spent the days with me leading up to that Saturday. I was on the Labor and Delivery Floor starting that Thursday, the very day I turned 32 weeks, for continuous monitoring. It was pretty uneventful; played cards, watched TV, took pictures.

When I woke up on the day of scheduled delivery, at 32 weeks and 2 days along, I took a quick shower and then had a new IV line put in my arm. I put on my first hospital gown of my 8 week inpatient stay. The nurse helped me put the non-slip hospital socks on, and she ushered me down the halls with another nurse to the Operating Room. My husband was getting a quick coffee (fair!) and given a set of scrubs. He wasn't allowed in the OR until they were completely ready to truly begin the Caesarian.

It was pretty much how I had envisioned it. The room was extremely technical, stocked to the brim with various medical supplies; it actually could have been easily mistaken for a stockroom. Except there was a creepy, shockingly narrow steel table smack in the middle of it all. The lights were very bright and the whole room was very intimidating. I told the nurses this and we all shared a nervous laugh. I was trying my best to make light of how truly intimidating and horrifying the room was, and they tried to help me by saying "it's just supplies, really."

The anesthesiologist helped me sit up on the table, scooted me to the edge towards him and began injecting the spinal block of epidural. Then, an anesthesiologist who was clearly above him, moseyed in and began nit-picking with him about placement and such, really just a pissing contest, as in the end he agreed the first guy did everything correctly. This made me a touch nervous, but reassured me hearing the second guy confirm it was all okay. Getting an epidural is difficult because you cannot move while they are injecting a massive needle into your spine. If you move, it can destroy your nervous system and do serious permanent damage. Yay, fun, and not nerve-wracking at all! I must admit, though, getting an epidural is a lot easier when it is a planned delivery. With my son the year before, I was having contraction on top of each other by the time they were putting it in, and this made it unbelievably difficult to not move a muscle. With a regular epidural, you have a constant drip of the drug, and a button to push if you want extra along the way. With a block, like during my c section, it is a limited amount because the whole thing is very controlled.

After the spinal block, I was laid down. Even if I hadn't been 8 months pregnant with twins, the table was damn small. It truly freaked me out just how narrow. There was a point it was turned to the side with me on it, while I was vomiting (wee! yay!) so I wouldn't choke on it and die, and being turned was terrifying--especially because they forgot to warn me it was being turned. Grr.

The epidural set in fast -- too fast. Cue the weeping. I got a bit hysterical. Going from feeling like yourself, to being completely numb from the waist down in about, oh, 5 minutes flat, is terrifying. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. Absolutely paralyzed, like an anchor that had sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The nurses felt bad for me, and the doctors felt frustrated that I wasn't enjoying it--ha. They didn't say that; it's how they acted. Through both deliveries, it's the nurses who nurtured my emotional well-being. The doctors are just there for technicality and procedure. Sorry I'm not sorry, if you're a doctor reading this. Be nice to us, doctors. One day you will need a doctor, too.

The sheet was put up so I could not watch what was going on, thankfully. I began feeling very hot, very ill, very uncomfortable, nervous and sad. Finally my husband was allowed in, just when I was about to ask, where the hell is my husband? Let him in already! He was all "scrubbed in" with his cap, gown, shoe covers. He sat near my head & took pictures. He said why are you crying? We're about to meet our little girls. Everything's fine.

There was flurry of people near my stomach. I never really saw them, it's a blur. Then the exciting but dreaded word was announced and repeated back, "INCISION."

Then came the endless tugging. It's difficult to explain if you've never experienced a c section. I am not entirely sure was happening, but it felt like the lady was reaching inside of my womb and turning and positioning both babies. I was just staring vaguely near my husband, wide eyed, horrified, just laying there experiencing one of the strangest feelings I could ever try to physically and mentally process. Soon, Twin A was born. She came out crying, and I began crying. She was presented to us, sitting in the pediatrician's arms, crying and looked bigger than I had imagined. I was so happy! Then, out came Twin B. The pediatrician presented her to us; she was kind of holding on to him and quiet; he said she is fine, just too startled to cry. She was quite small and I was taken aback. Even though they were only a few feet away from us, my vision is crappy, and her foot looked like it had formed backwards or something. Luckily, this was an optical mistake and completely founded in delusion. Gavin snapped a picture of each girl. 

They were whisked away to the intermediate nursery where they were cleaned up and put in isolettes; their half-way stop before their new home in the NICU. Gavin was overjoyed, we agreed they looked great and that B was very small. He assured me they are fine. He snapped a picture of their cords--the reason all of this was so risky. They were tangled ten times with one loose knot right in the center of all the tangles. Yes, that is not a good thing, but it wound up looking a lot better than what I was imagining it to look like. B's cord was smaller. She had a 2 vessel cord instead of a 3 vessel cord like her sister (and like the rest of most of the world's population.) This means she was missing an artery in the cord; on top of sharing a placenta i.e. all nourishment, it is no wonder she came out one whole pound less than her sister. While the team began fixing me up, they took my husband with them to see the babies get cleaned up and such. Lucky him, that's what they did with our son, too. He's always the first to say I love you.

They suctioned out my uterus. EW. Then stitched it up, rearranged it back inside of me, then stitched the skin up with dissolvable stitches, and placed steri-strips along it. The gown was brought down over my body, and the curtain was taken away. Everyone who had been on the other side of the drape, watching this all happen, making it all happen -- they were all gone by the time the drape was taken away; it was peculiar to me. So very technical and common to them. Then I was transferred to a stretcher. Again, with the shifting narrow table turned to the side and I clutched on for dear life like a cat trying to be put in the bath. They assured me I wouldn't fall; I didn't believe them, not even for a second. I was on the stretcher, then taken to the recovery room. Gavin met up with me there. Maybe an hour or two later I was able to wiggle my leg. We laughed because we were both reminded of the scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thurman keeps saying "move your big toe, move your fucking big toe" after in a coma and experiencing atrophy. He left for a sandwich or something.

My dad came by to congratulate me, then he swooped up my son in the lobby. My mother and Bob came to congratulate me. They left and I was alone for a moment, exhausted. To my delight, they wheeled in Twin A -- Miss Lucy -- in her isolette and I was so over the moon happy. I opened one of the portholes and stroked her little soft red leg in utter amazement. After a few minutes, I said okay, go ahead and take her to the NICU. Then a few moments later, they wheeled me into the intermediate nursery, and I was able to see Twin B -- Miss Violet. She was so small I was afraid to bother her. I was just so happy to see them in the flesh. They took me back to the recovery area, and she was taken to the NICU with her sister.

Both girls were put on CPAP, these big tube looking things that create and airway to breathe better, but they were breathing room air all along. When Gavin visited them in the NICU with his mother, his brother, my father, my mother, and her boyfriend, they all saw them on CPAP. When I went to visit them the following morning, they had been taken off of it the night before, so they only needed it a couple of hours. Amazing!

I was taken back to the same room I had spent the following 8 weeks, which was a relief because it had become a second home to me. Getting transferred from the stretcher to my bed was horrific. They expected me to help move myself to encourage me to move a little bit. It was difficult to do. I had a catheter in me so I didn't have to get up to pee. They encouraged me to alternate sitting up and laying down to help blood flow and healing. The day of and the day following major surgery especially abdominal surgery, you are prone to nasty blood clots. I got several shots of heparin, a blood thinner, the day of & days following the surgery to help prevent it.

I could not keep any liquids down for several hours after surgery. I finally was able to keep down some soup later that night. I was so weak, and living off of scrolling through the pictures my husband took of our family meeting the girls in the NICU. It made me blissful to see pictures of them. They looked so good, I was so proud and relieved. Absolute miracle babies.

My husband was in a funny mood and it was driving me nuts because laughing hurt so much. You know the saying laughter is the best medicine? Well it is NOT, if you've had a caesarian. Good lord. Avoid any comedy at all costs for at least 3 days if you are going to have a c section.

My tips if you are going to have a c section:
- no comedy for 3 days, the laughter will make you cry -- in the worst way
- take your pain medicine regularly and insist your nurse wakes you up throughout the night to administer it to you
- if you want to give your baby breast milk, start pumping right away around the clock (yes, set alarms. you will have alarms set for pumping, and for when to take your pain medicine -- it is exhausting.)
- drink at least an entire pitcher of water the next morning, so when you get up to pee (with help & 2 people watching -- fun) they will let you come off of your IV line.
- shower but do not scrub the area & blow dry your incision site with a low, warm blow dryer
- do not use the wheelchair, walk (unless you are dizzy)
- do not let your husband try to tell you there is enough room in the hospital bed for him to share it with you now (because there isn't - get out!)
- do not drink with a straw, too much air
- do not eat until your nurse says its okay
- cheese, cracker, and cured meat and mild thai soup were fine on my stomach when I was ready to eat about 12+ hours later
- if you saw Bad Santa and remember "you ain't gonna shit right for a week" well, you're not. So deal with it. And fuck Colace it didn't work either time I've had babies. Just know it will probably be yet another terrible experience.

Fast forward two weeks later. The girls are still in their heated isolettes but are being weaned down and starting to be clothed, prepping them for open crib. Once they are both able to be in an open crib, they will be reunited (I cannot wait!!! They haven't seen or held each other since my belly!) They both have feeding tubes but are both working on taking bottles and the breast. Formula makes them both sick and they both are thriving on my breast milk, of which there is aplenty. The doctor and lactation consultant continue to be amazed at my supply, ha. My body definitely got the signal I had twins, even if they were 8 weeks early.

I am able to change their diapers, take their temperatures, and hold them. I love doing kangaroo care with them; they are tucked inside my shirt and we enjoy skin-on-skin cuddling for at least an hour, if not 3 hours, until my ass is numb and I need to get up to pee, or switch to the other baby.

They are outrageously precious. Each little sniffle, smile, pout, frown, fart, sneeze, is just perfect. They have no health complications thus far, and I thank my lucky stars. Their only hurdle now is getting off the feeding tube, getting to open crib, and packing on a bit of weight. At birth, Lucy was 4 pounds and Violet was 3; they are both up from their birth weights today, so that is good. They are making great progress. They really do look great. They look just like their brother when he was an infant last year.

When they were born, their pediatrician (nice guy) said they would be home in 2-3 weeks. Well, it has been 2 weeks. I am afraid to ask when they will be home now because I don't want to be let down. The dresser is finally up and stuffed to the brim with their clothes and whatnot, and the crib arrived yesterday. So, we are still reading up the house for their arrival, but I can't wait for them to get home. I miss them so much when I am away from them. I know they are in great hands, but I want them in my hands! Soon enough.

Hospital room view:

Holding Lucy
Left to right: Lochlan last July, Lucy, and Violet
Kangaroo care; the best!
11 days after the twins:

Monday, November 25, 2013

One of my last belly pictures .

It kinda looks like I have stretch marks, but I don't.. so must be funny lighting. There isn't a full length mirror here, so when I took this 5 days ago, I was shocked to see the picture myself! Ha :) The good news is my husband surprised me with an awesome Canon camera with a fancy lens; he bought a memory card for it last night and now we are all set to take some pictures of our girls!! Hurray for no more or minimal iPhone pictures :D

An update--TMI, not for the weak of heart

So far so good... I am technically in the early stages of labor as I have dilated to 3cm, but have not been progressing so I am laying low in my regular room again (I had to go up and have continuous for about 5 hours, not that bad though). Still having 2 NSTS a day.

This Thursday, Thanksgiving, I will be moved to the Labor and Delivery floor and be put on continuous. I will deliver sometime between then & Saturday. Probably Saturday because last I heard, the NICU is pretty full, and since it's not technically an emergency, they'd like to make sure there is adequate room for them. That, and the could either be very busy or very slow. They will deliver right away if there is any sign of distress, though.

I am so nervous for my caesarian I cannot even express the element of terror it strikes in my heart. It's really quite a brutal act that makes me dry heave just thinking of it. I have been pretty good about refraining from googling it, and trying to really only direct my questions and concerns to my doctors. The image of them needing to place my womb on top of my stomach to sew it up then stuff it back in me then sew me up again will forever haunt my nightmares. And probably yours, too, now!

The terrible part is they bind your arms to the table. I have not been able to get this out of my head. It is also terrible that while you are numb, you still feel everything--all the tugging and what not. You are awake. Unless it is an emergency and there is no time for the epidural, then they knock you out with gas, which is also pretty terrifying. Some women request that the curtain is not put up because they want to watch the whole thing; brave, brave women! Eep! I could never.

When something is happening that I am uncomfortable with, what makes me feel better is to look away and have a finger in my mouth to bite down on until it is over (like getting an IV put in). But I can't do that this time because I won't be able to move my arms. My tongue will probably bleed. There are very scary risks that come along with a c section, but they are rare, especially if it is a scheduled one and not even an emergency.

I am worried about making the wrong choice by taking them "early" but honestly since I have dilated on my own (and already to a 3 out of 10), I doubt I would make it to 34 weeks anyway. We are in good hands... The OBs, the pediatricians, the nurses, and of course, ultimately, in the hands of one merciful God.

I am incredibly proud to have gotten this far in the pregnancy, and will be forever thankful. We still have a long road ahead of us. The girls' soon-to-be pediatrician said he thinks they will be home in 2-3 weeks, but I am not getting my hopes up. The standard is that they will be home by their real 40 week due date (our real due date is January 23rd), any time before then is bonus. Every baby is different, but before coming home, they must be able to regulate their own body temperature, take feedings without a feeding tube and keep it down, gain weight steadily, have lack of apnea, have absence of jaundice (nearly all preemies must spend time in "tanning beds" to photosynthesize the chemical in the blood to reverse jaundice--something that usually naturally occurs when they are carried to term), breathe room air...those are the main things.

It is going to blow my mind to meet them! My family and I are so excited! Thank you to everyone who has been following along in this crazy mono-mono journey with us and sending us well wishes, prayers, and inspirational notes. And of course all the baby gifts, haha! The girls are so spoiled already. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

many thanks

I want to say thank you to everyone who is following my blog and has been writing me personal messages about my last post. It was definitely scary but the girls are looking great.

We recently purchased as well as received gifts of pretty much everything under the sun for the girls. Our tiny New York apartment is swimming in so many boxes of baby furniture and bags upon bags of baby clothing. It is so strange to go from having only a girly quilt we got them in Chinatown the weekend before I was admitted to the hospital, to having so much clothing there is no way they could possibly get around to wearing it all.

The girls will be here next week. I am so nervous and keep asking myself, am I making the right choice? (Bringing them into the world as early as the doctors will allow without it being a technical emergency). My inpatient stay is so close to just being a blurred memory already. It's hard to believe I've been here for so many weeks. I hope their NICU stay will fly by the same. Smoothly.

They will be here Thanksgivng or the day after. I find out tomorrow morning.

They have clothes, furniture, names, and so much love waiting for them here on the outside...I just can't wait.

Friday, November 15, 2013

to hell and back to limbo

im so unbelievably exhausted but wanted to jot down how my day was because it was intense. apologies for all the incorrect grammar im not even trying today.

reasons 9 pm last night - 2 pm today sucked.
  • one baby had decels down in the 40s
  • having to hear the doctor say sternly " you need to call your husband."
  • my rabbit ate my husband's phone charger yesterday and he had to go and buy a new one
  • had to be transferred to Labor and Delivery floor
  • put on continuous monitoring for 12 hours, after a 3 hour NST
  • my iphone was dead and I couldn't reach it plugged in
  • had to share a room
  • had to share a room and it was with a mom, her husband and her newborn twins
  • had to have my 2nd round of steroids and they wear off 1-2 weeks after taking them. this is the last round my doctors will give me. praying it carries over to when I do deliver them (hopefully it will be as scheduled) so it is useful to their lungs.
  • had to be on a magnesium IV for 12 hours and it made me sicker than I have ever been before -- I thought I was going to explode/burst into fire, covered in icepacks, eating ice, vomiting
  • every time her twins cried, I cried. It was overwhelming. It was beautiful to hear them cry, so I cried. It was depressing to hear them cry, because they weren't mine and this lady was already with her twinnies, so I cried. They cried, and I cried because of the anxiety of monitoring. Sad sad sad.
  • they wouldn't let me eat but didn't want to anyway
  • when I finally got lunch, it was plain pasta zero sauce zero salt that had been reheated in a way that made it crunchy rendering it entirely inedible
  • had to use a bed pan in a room with other people in it -- humiliation at its finest
  • something about that room made me sneeze a lot
reasons today didn't suck:
  • after the deceleration scares, and hooked up to IV etc, the twins actually gave pretty lovely readings the whole other 12 hours. go figure. but would rather it be that way of course! the doctors had no way of knowing and I am glad they took the precautions they did even if they scarred me for life and if I ever hear the word magnesium after this hospital stay I cant say for sure whether my eye will twitch but my guess is it will
  • I was able to come back down to my room which is highly preferred even though I will be paranoid from here on out about having to go back upstairs and have last night/this morning repeated
  • my dad bought me chipotle and hot chocolate, yum! can you tell I am pregnant
  • I got a nice little 3 hour visit with my son in today which was a breath of fresh air...he's been acting up lately because his mommy and daddy are never home but today he was a sweet little treat
  • lots of people still came into my room after I got back but the day nurse left me alone pretty much. yay!
tonight we will be doing a NST, i'll have vitals done, then at 3am I have to get my 2nd shot of steroids. really hope it goes smoothly, I feel so weak I don't know i'd have it in me to have a repeat of last night *shudder*