Thursday, March 29, 2007

The ants come marching two by two...hurrah, hurrah...

Or in our case...the twins come marching two by two, hurrah hurrah!! Garrett is coming home today!! I went into the NICU yesterday and one of the dr's came up to me and said "so are you ready??" and I asked "ready for what?"....apparently, the other dr was supposed to call us Tuesday night to discuss releasing Garrett yesterday but he never called. So they were all under the assumption that I was taking him home with me. But in order to be released Garrett still had a series of shots and screenings he needed as well as being circumcised so there was no way he'd be able to go home yesterday, which really bummed me out. The dr joked around about the circumcision and said "you could just skip it this time" and I said "are you kidding?? Then we'd have a case of 'one of these is not like the other' at home during bathtime every single night and I'm not up for that...let's just make all the boys in the family look the same!" And I still had to watch a CPR/1st Aide video that they require all parents (or at least one parent who will be the primary caregiver) to watch before releasing the child. When I came back to watch it, the nurse told me that Garrett had passed his hearing screening with flying colors and she said "so when he pretends he's deaf and he can't hear you tell him to clean up his room, you can shove this piece of paper under his nose which states he can hear perfectly".

So as of tonight, we'll have a full house....a house full of children. I'm not sure which set of twins will be more challenging...the 2 year olds or the newborns. At least with newborns, they can't talk back and they stay put wherever you place them. The 2 yr olds are a whole 'nother story. Things already got off to a rough start this morning when Cole got up at 6:30 am and I took him into the bedroom to let him lay with Tim and Bella, while I fed Landon....within 5 minutes, I heard Cole crying and Tim yelling "knock it off, both of you".....it's NEVER a good sign of how the day will go when we start off the days with tears and yelling.

Well, I gotta run and get ready for the day. I have to call the NICU in a few minutes to find out what time the little guy will be released. If it's not this morning, my sister and I are going to take Cole and Bella to storytime at the library while Landon stays home with Tim. Landon is such an easy baby that Tim is still able to work from home and not be interrupted since Landon just pretty much sleeps all the time and when he is awake he's content to just lay in our arms while we do what we need to do...I can't wait until he's big enough to fit in the snuggli carrier and then I'll have both hands free to get even more done!! And then Cole and Bella have an appointment with Melody from VMRC this afternoon....they absolutely adore her and they always look forward to seeing her. They missed their appointment last month b/c of yet another false labor episode so I'm really hoping we can keep our appointment today and work around the timing of Garrett's NICU release.

Oh and thank you to all of you who are leaving comments...I really appreciate all the well wishes, positive thoughts and advice!!!! And thank you to those of you who have sent gifts, flowers and have left messages on our machine offering help....I'm so sorry I have yet to send out formal thank you notes or call many of you back....hopefully I'll be able to do all that next week, as we get settled into a routine!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Are we having fun yet?

All during my pregnancy, I thought it would be Landon and Garrett who would have me all stressed out but it's actually Cole and Bella that have me overwhelmed. They're at an age where they want to do everything themselves and they think they know what's best for them....Cole's not so bad most of the time. For the most part, we can usually reason with him and he'll mostly say "okay" and do what we need him to do. Bella, on the other hand, is a huge drama queen and turns on the tears over every little thing. She will look me dead in the eye and do exactly the opposite of what I ask her to do. She told me yesterday "I'm the princess" when I asked to clean up her toys and I said "well, I'm the Queen and I'm telling you now, not asking anymore, for you to clean up your toys". With that, she huffed and puffed and stuck her bottom lip out and began to cry..."but Mommy, I want you...." that's what she says now when she wants us to feel sorry for her. And then she wants to be held and hugged but I'm onto her...I'm figuring out that this is her way of manipulating us because by the time I've hugged her and gotten her to calm down, I've completely forgotten what it is I was upset about in the first place. The guy who marries her someday will never know what hit him.....

The babies are doing well...Garrett is now eating every 4 hours, 2 ounces of formula/breast milk. The nurse yesterday told me if he can keep this up for a couple of days, he may come home on Thursday or Friday!!! I'm so ready for him to be home with us and to start getting into a routine....going back and forth to the NICU to care for one baby while having another baby at home is becoming very tiresome. There is simply not enough hours in the day for me to do everything I want to do....that includes grocery shopping, which I have to do today at some point....ugh!! While I was holding Garrett yesterday, I noticed he has another hemangioma on his right side, in addition to the one he has on his back. But this one on his side is larger and darker....it feels flat though, thankfully.

Landon is doing well...staying awake for longer periods of time, which is nice because he actually sleeps better after he's been awake for awhile. I put him in the swing that my friend Tori lent to us and on the slowest setting, it was still kinda fast for him...he kept looking around, with his eyes crossed, trying to figure out why the room was spinning. He looked so incredibly tiny in that swing...I've been so used to seeing my friend Bonnie's son, Chase, in it so when I put Landon in it, he looked like a tiny baby doll! The only outfits that fit him are the preemie sizes...he swims in the newborn outfits we have!! His umbilical cord finally fell off yesterday...I was starting to think he was gonna have that thing attached to him as he left for college!! So he got his first real bath yesterday and he did pretty good for the most part. He doesn't like being held when he's naked...I'm not sure if my hands were too cool or what but he freaked out when I lifted him from his towel to put him in the bathtub. But then once he was in the water, he was fine. Just looking around trying to figure what the heck was going on. I love the smell of a clean baby....I kept smelling him for hours after his bath. Even Cole and Bella smelled him and they both said "he smells good". And the bath must have completely worn him out because he slept so peacefully after that and had to be woken up for his 10:30 pm feeding!! Tim said "let's give him a bath every night".

Here's a picture of Landon in the swing...



Daddy, Cole and Landon...



Landon laying on the boppy pillow under the Gymini mat: "um, yeah...so what do I do now...can someone entertain me PlEASE??"



Our morning ritual....Cole and Bella snuggle with Baby Brother....or is that more "squeeze the life out of Baby Brother"??



Bella preferred Landon laying on his belly against her until I told her to make sure to tell me if he spit up, to which she answered "eeeewww, no puke on me, Landon"



We can't forget a picture of Garrett, of course...being awoken from a long nap to eat...he got a little pissy until I put the pacifier in his mouth...

Monday, March 26, 2007

The reality has set in.....

I can't believe I'm saying this but I actually miss being pregnant and I've been feeling a little depressed about it. The reality has set in that I'll never be pregnant again and now I really wish I had spent more time towards the end of this last pregnancy enjoying it more. But it's so hard to enjoy it when you feel bigger than a house, have to pee every 10 minutes and you can't sleep more than 30 minutes in a row. Towards the end, I was so tired of the trips to L&D that I just wanted to deliver already....but now it's over and I wish so much that it hadn't ended so quickly. I think what has brought on these feelings is everytime I visit the NICU to see Garrett, I end up running into a pregnant woman going to L&D to deliver....every single time!! I actually feel envious....yes, that's very weird. And I think part of the issue is the finality of it all....I had my tubes tied so there's no chance of it ever happening again. I'm sure all the feelings I'm having are very natural....

I have some good news....Garrett's feeding tube was removed yesterday!!! Yeah!! He's doing so well with his bottle feedings that they increased the amount he's taking and he no longer needs the tube for feedings. And he now weighs 4 lbs, 4 oz!! The next step is for him to move up to feedings every 4 hours instead of every 3 hours. The nurse today said the dr may do an order for that tomorrow but they'll have to see how he tolerates the increase in volume first. And if he does well, they'll space his feedings out. I gave her Landon's feeding schedule so hopefully once he moves to 4-hr feedings, they'll be on the same exact schedule, making our lives easier when he does come home. I have a feeling he'll be home by the weekend!!

When I was holding him the other day, I was rubbing his back and his little shirt came up and I saw a tiny red spot on his back. So I asked the nurse if someone had accidentally marked him with red marker and she said no. I asked the dr about it and he said "oh, it's a flat hemangioma".....all I could think about was everything Bella had been through with her hemangioma. But he said the fact that it's still very small (no bigger than a pencil eraser) and it's very flat (not raised like Bella's was) is encouraging...we just have to keep an eye on it. What are the chances that 2 of my kids would have hemangiomas???? I just pray that Garrett's will stay small and flat and not turn out to be what Bella dealt with with hers.

Landon's doing well...he was starting to wake up before his feedings and get a little fussy so we increased the amount he's eating from 55 cc's to about 58 cc's and that seems to be making a difference. He's able to stay awake longer between feedings and it's so much fun watching him look around at everything. I wonder what he must be thinking...probably "this is my home? It's a total pigstye".

Cole and Bella, on the other hand, have turned into holy terrors. I keep telling Tim I think it's b/c Landon's home and they're having to share our attention but he doesn't agree. Bella cries about everything (just like me!!) and she's been telling us "no" to everything and tries to hit us. Cole just walks around pretending he's deaf and he can't a word we're saying to him. Yesterday, they wanted to go to the park and they didn't really deserve to go but the thought of staying indoors for hours with them until dinner didn't seem too appealing so we went ahead and took them. They burnt off some energy and we got some fresh air and Landon slept through the whole trip....it was a good way to spend the afternoon. I'm not quite sure how things will go on Thursday when Cole and Bella don't have school and Tim has to work and I'll be on my own with all the kids. I keep telling myself that it won't be too difficult...we'll just stick to our regular routine and see how things go. If the kids seem antsy, I may take them to story time at the library and just have Landon hang out in his carseat...if I'm brave enough.....

Well, it's almost time for Landon's next feeding and then I have to pump some more milk....I have to say I'll be a little relieved once Garrett is out of the NICU and I won't have so much pressure to pump and breastfeed. Every day I'm at the NICU, at least one of the nurses comes up to me and asks me how it's going and today one of them asked how much milk I'm getting now and I said "usually anywhere from 3-4 ounces in a 24-hour period" and she looked surprised and said "you should have more than that...are you sure you're doing everything possible to increase your supply?"....I wanted to smack her. I know they are just trying to be encouraging but it's pressure I don't need right now. Yes, I'm doing everything I can do....I pump every 2-3 hours during the day (usually I get enough sessions in during the day to skip the night pumping), I drink tons of water, I'm taking fenugreek and Mother's milk tea, I'm resting, I'm massaging my boobs so often that I think I've felt myself up more often in the last few weeks than Tim has this last year.....if 3-4 ounces is all I'm gonna get, I'm happy with that. At least it's something....better than no breast milk at all.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

If only I could produce breastmilk the way I produce tears these days!

Okay, so the breastfeeding is getting better...well, Landon and I still have to come together as a team to get the hang of it. His mouth is still a little too small and his suck isn't quite strong enough yet to have a successful breastfeeding session but we're working on it. So I just continue to pump milk for both him and Garrett and I've managed to have enough milk for them for at least 1-2 feedings...this I will consider a success!! I'm taking fenugreek and drinking Mother's Milk tea as if it's going out of style....I smell like maple syrup from the fenugreek. Bella even noticed it this morning when she came up to me and asked me for a bite of my waffles...I said "what waffles?" and then I realized she must have smelled that yucky, sweet maple syrup smell on me and thought I was eating waffles. Gosh, it makes me wonder if everyone around me can smell it...I suppose it's better than smelling like baby poop though.

I'm a crying, hormonal mess these days. I cry over everything and anything. I wasn't even like this during my pregnancy. Here's how bad it is....on Monday, while I was visiting Garrett in the NICU, they rushed a baby in who had just been born via c-section and was having trouble breathing. The new dad was standing by watching the nurses work on the baby and he was happily taking pictures, clearly enjoying his new role as daddy. And I sat there watching him and I was moved to tears. The nurse who was taking care of Garrett that day noticed I was crying and she asked if I was okay and the minute I opened my mouth, I started crying even harder and I'm not sure she could make out anything I was saying....kinda like this "I'm just so....happy....for that new dad....it's just so....emotional...having a baby....will the baby be okay...."....blah, blah, blah....now if only my breastmilk was as substantial as my tears I'd be in business!!

Landon continues to do well...sometimes Tim and I forget we have a baby in the house. All he does is eat, sleep and poop...well, the poop actually had been non-existent for a couple days and our pediatrician said to use a glycerin suppository to make him go and I swear as Tim was about to shove a tiny piece of it up Landon's butt, the boy pooped all over the place. And he spent the rest of the day making up for lost time. We actually have to wake him to eat...although sometimes about 15-20 minutes before a feeding, he'll start stirring and sucking on his hands. But he never cries for a bottle...actually, he very rarely cries. He's been staying awake a little bit longer after feedings and he just sits there looking around at everything. He's so sweet and I can't stop kissing him!!

Garrett is doing well too...he's been bottle feeding more but it completely wears him out. He only drinks a little over an ounce of milk at each feeding and he eats like a champ but as he gets down to the end of his bottle, he's so sleepy and can barely hold his eyes open. He's a feisty little guy, compared to Landon. He does not like his diaper being changed and he doesn't like going from being held to a laying down position...his startle reflex is stronger than Landon's. He freaks out, thinking he's about to be dropped, even as gentle as I'm laying him down, he flails his arms out and starts crying. But he's just so darn cute and lovable....the boys look so much alike...Garrett looks like a little mini-version of Landon. I can't wait for him to be home so we can start taking pictures of them together! No word on when he'll be coming home, although the nurse told Tim today that he needs to be able to bottle feed every feeding for at least 24 hours before they'll remove his feeding tube and then they need to give him some more time to get used to the bottles without getting worn out. He needs to be able to keep his weight on and continue to gain weight...if he starts losing weight, it means he's exerting too much energy on bottle feeding. 2 days ago, he weighed 3 lbs, 12 oz so he's over his birth weight now and he needs to be at least 4 pounds to be released.

I took all 3 kids up to my mom and stepdad's house today. They got the kids Peg Perego tractors....man, it made me wish I was a kid again. Cole hopped on his and pressed on the gas pedal and took off like he knew exactly what he was doing. Bella rode hers for 5 seconds and decided it was "too scary" for her. We definitely know who will be the thrill seeker in the family and it's not her. The tractors have 2 speeds on them so my stepdad wanted to see how fast the 2nd speed was and the minute he took the lock off the gear shift (yes, this thing actually has a gear shift with reverse and 2 different speeds!!), Cole was in motion, speeding down the driveway and laughing so hard I thought he was gonna puke his lunch up. And then he wanted to drive his tractor over to the shop my stepdad is building on their property and he nearly took my mom's lovely white picket fence down in the process. The kid has no fear at all.

Bella is still very involved with the breastfeeding/pumping process. Today while I was pumping breastmilk at my mom's house, she wanted to be in the room with me. She proudly announced to me that she wanted to make milk too and she wanted to use the pump after I was done. I asked her if she had babies and she said "yes, I have 2 babies...right here" and she pointed to her belly. She clearly thinks that babies come in pairs....I think Tim and I will have a good laugh if she does end up with a set of twins!!!

Tim and I are getting along really well, compared to how we got along when Cole and Bella were born. There were times I actually wanted to smother him with a pillow while he slept....but this time, we both just seem so much more relaxed and confident with our parenting skills. And we've actually been trading off doing the middle-of-the-night feeding at 2:30 am....so we're both getting a decent amount of sleep on our "off" night and that really helps. With Cole and Bella, we both hardly got any sleep and it really took its toll on us. When Garrett comes home, we've agreed to both do the 2:30 am feeding so we can get it done quicker, rather than have one of us up feeding both babies. During the day, I can handle feeding both babies at the same time by myself but when it's 2:30 in the morning, I just want to do a quick feeding and get back to bed. So the fact that he offered to help means the world to me....I do realize how lucky I am to have a husband who is so helpful when it comes to feedings and diaper changes. (Note to readers: Please remind me that I wrote this if and when the time comes that he starts working my last nerve and I start considering, yet again, smothering him with a pillow.....)

I got some really cute pictures of the kids with Landon but I'll have to post them tomorrow.....I need to get going and continue my love affair with my breast pump....

Monday, March 19, 2007

Look who's home from the NICU!!!

LANDON!!!!





When I went in on Saturday to the NICU, the neonatologist and the nurse were speaking about the boys. The dr said "Oh I'm glad you're here....Landon's doing really well maintaining his temperature in an open isolette and his bottle feedings are going smoothly so I think he's eligible..." and like a dumb-a$$ I said, "eligible for what??" thinking they were gonna move him to the newborn nursery or something. He looked at me, as if he was actually thinking "what a dumb-a$$" and said "eligible to go home, probably as early as tomorrow". I must have looked shocked...we were not expecting either of them to come home this early and shamefully we still haven't fully prepared our home for it either. So then he started talking about circumcision, etc, etc and I think my head was still spinning, thinking of the million and one things we still needed to do. See, I am not a proscrastinator by any means....when something has to get done, I want to get it done...call me Type A, call me anal, call me whatever you will...it's how I've always been. But Tim on the other hand is a procrastinator, the worst kind of the type that there is. So all the time I spent on bedrest, unable to prepare the house for these babies, very little got done....Tim was so busy with trying to keep up with work and take care of Cole and Bella that left him little time to get cribs set up, get bottles ready, etc...and let's face it, getting bottles and clothes and all that stuff is really Mommy-kinda stuff anyway. Men just don't have a clue about that stuff....I sent him out one day to Target with a very detailed list of the exact things I wanted for the babies and he still called me 3 times from the store wanting more information on what it was exactly that I wanted. Well, at least he called and just didn't end up buying the wrong thing...gotta see the positives here!!

The dr called Saturday night and spoke with Tim and said they were gonna circumcise Landon that night and we should call at around 10:00 am Sunday morning to make sure the plan was still to release him, provided everything went smoothly. I called Sunday morning and he was all set to go....my in-laws had offered to watch Cole and Bella for the day so that was one less worry we had. While Tim went to meet them halfway to do the drop-off, I prepared the house....now I know why they say you need a good 4-6 weeks to recover from a c-section. I'm barely 8 days out of major surgery and I was hauling furniture around the family room, running up and down the stairs moving things....by the time Tim came home I was in tears from the pain in my lower abdomen and my back. But it had to get done....I was tired of Tim's "it can wait" attitude. By the time we went to visit Garrett and pick up Landon, my whole lower body was numb.

I felt so bad leaving Garrett behind...he didn't seem to notice or care much. He slept through his feeding and when we said goodbye, he didn't bat an eyelash. We got Landon home and things just fell smoothly into place....the kids were still at the in-laws and Tim and I sat down to eat a quiet dinner while Landon slept. We looked at each other and laughed, knowing we were thinking the same thing....having just one baby is SO easy!!! Of course, I know in time it would seem difficult...when they're newborns, they pretty much sleep, eat and poop...not much to it. But it was a nice change not having to juggle 2 feedings, 2 diaper changes, and all the fun stuff that goes with multiples. Landon eats every 4 hours and he sleeps in between feedings for the most part....although last night, I think he was cold and his temperature dipped a little bit. He got a little fussy at that point so I brought him into bed with me so the warmth of my body would help keep him warm. He did sleep much better after that.

And then all hell broke loose....Cole and Bella woke up and came into the bedroom and saw Landon laying there!! They wanted to touch him, kiss him, play with him...they couldn't keep their hands off of him, especially Bella. She was more interested in helping me feed Landon than eating her own breakfast...she wanted to hold his bottle, she wanted to burp him, she wanted to change his diaper...she wants so much to be a little helper that she's actually making things worse...I feel bad saying that but all morning she was under my feet trying to help me. And then at one point, I was in the kitchen washing bottles and out of the corner of my eye I saw her standing on the sofa and leaning over the pack-n-play where Landon was sleeping quietly and then I saw her drop something into the bassinet....she had dropped a little rubber ball on him, which of course made him cry. She told me "Landon wanted to play with my ball"....I have to find a way to be positive with her so she knows I appreciate her help but I feel like all I'm doing is saying "no Bella, don't do this"..."no, Bella, don't do that"....it'll work itself out in time, I'm sure.

In the meantime, I have the blues....and we're not talking the Kraft Mac-n-Cheese kinda blues. Definitely the baby blues but it's different this time....I'm not sad by any means. I just cry at the drop of a hat over everything these and anyone who knows me knows I am not a cryer. I was telling Tim yesterday how one of the night nurses was telling me that she was assigned our boys and another baby and she was trying to figure out how she was going to feed Landon and the other baby since their feedings overlapped but then realized the other baby was a gavage-fed baby and so she said she'd just tape his tube to the side of his bassinet so she could feed Landon. As I was telling Tim this, I started crying just thinking of that poor baby having no human contact while he was being fed. And then it made me cry even harder to think that maybe they don't hold Garrett during feedings....Tim just looked at me like I was nuts and said "well, he'll be home soon and you can hold him all you want then". My suspicious were confirmed yesterday when we went in and the nurse was preparing to feed Garrett and she was about to tape the tube to the side of his bassinet and I said "I'll hold him while he eats" and she said that was fine....oh, thanks for giving me permission to hold my own child. I wanted to rip her hair out....

And then this morning, while Landon lay sleeping peacefully next to me...I started crying again. Again, not because I was sad but more just how lucky and blessed I feel. When I think back to when Tim and I first started trying to have a child, we felt so hopeless at times and the despair was unbearable. There were so many times I honestly thought I'd never become a mother...I remember getting on my hands and knees many times and praying to God that He would take away the desire to be a mother but that never happened. The desire only became stronger. And that gave me hope to keep trying anything we had to try to have children...and that's what we did to have Cole and Bella and to try for more children. Those other pregnancies obviously were never meant to be but now we have these little guys, by pure miracle alone. And the fact that I got through another high-risk twin pregnancy and all our children are healthy is something I also feel extremely blessed about.

Alright, enough of the mushy stuff, I could do on for hours and hours....but I need to head off to the NICU to visit Garrett and find time to come home and make dinner for my family.....there is simply not enough time in the day....

Friday, March 16, 2007

Life in the NICU....again.....

So it's all coming back to me....life in the NICU. I had forgotten about the monitors, the alarms, all the sounds that go on in the NICU. I hear the alarms in my sleep now.

I don't even know where to start....these feelings are so familiar to me. The guilt and the deep sadness that goes with not having my babies with me at home....the disappointment that it's a nurse and not me who's controlling how much they eat and when, the heartbreak I feel when I think of my babies laying awake in an incubator and not being there to hold them every waking minute. The other day after a feeding, Landon spit up and I had to change his outfit. The nurse suggested I put him back in the incubator so his little tummy could settle and she assured me he'd be asleep within a few minutes. But he just laid there awake, staring at the window of his incubator. So the nurse covered his incubator with a blanket so the light wouldn't be in his eyes. 5 minutes later I peeked in at him in the hopes that he had fallen asleep but he was still awake, staring at the bright colors of the blanket. I couldn't help but get all teary-eyed...if he was at home with me, I would have been able to rock him to sleep (yes, it's a horrible habit and you'd think I'd have learned from doing this with Cole and Bella!!) but I crave to be near them all the time and the time I have with them is so little, that I treasure every second of it. And for even those 10 minutes that he stayed awake in his incubator without any human contact was too much for me to bear....

Okay, so enough about me whining about depressing it is to have my babies in the NICU....let's talk about how the little guys are doing. First of all, I have to say how incredibly sweet they both are....I could just eat them up and pinch them all over, except neither of them have an ounce of fat on their bodies to save their lives! Seriously, their skin just kind of hangs off their arms and legs...it's so wrinkly and so thin, you can practically see every vein in their bodies.

One of the problems I had been experiencing, which is exactly what I had experienced with Cole and Bella was that I didn't feel attached to them at first. It was more extreme in this case with Garrett and Landon though because I was alseep with general anesthesia when they were born so I never even got to hear their first cries or lay my eyes on them or even touch them until 18 hours after they were born. And then when I walked in the NICU to see them for the first time, again just like with Cole and Bella, they felt like strangers to me. Here I was looking at these beautiful little tiny human beings who I had carried inside me for 8 months, I had felt them move, I had felt each and every hiccup, yet when I looked at them, I didn't experience that "instant motherly love" everyone tells me about. The good thing is though, having been through this same exact thing with Cole and Bella, was that I knew the feelings would come naturally once I had time to hold them and really bond with them.

My first bonding moment with Landon was last Tuesday....he had just eaten his bottle and he was laying against my shoulder, looking around at all the lights and people in the room. Then I said something to him and he lifted his head off my shoulder and looked me right in the eye, as if he was saying "Oh, hi Mom...I know your voice"....and then I started singing to him. Now I am definitely no American Idol by any means but it didn't seem to matter to him. He just sat there and stared directly into my eyes as I sang to him. And when the song was over and I stopped singing to him, he'd close his eyes and just lay comfortably back on my shoulder. Then I'd sing to him again and he'd open his eyes and lift his head up and stare back at me. It was an incredible feeling and I think my heart just about burst open with so much love for him...THAT was the feeling I had been waiting for. And now there's no going back...I know with each and every passing day, my love for him will continue to grow, passionately and unconditionally. And then the bond with him became even stronger yesterday when I "attempted" to breastfeed him for the first time. I say "attempted" because I had no clue what I was doing....between trying to get the boppy pillow to stay on my lap, get him in a good position, I had 2 nurses holding my boobs in the right position for him, and trying to stay relaxed and hope I had enough milk for one feeding....I was amazed I kept together!!! He is a breastfeeding pro, as if he knew exactly what to do. The nurse showed me how to express milk to my nipples and after that, he latched right on and hung in there with me. I didn't have much milk for him and it was a lot of work for him...he'd eat for a couple seconds and then he'd need a break. I felt bad that he had to work so hard for it but the nurses kept encouraging me and reminding me to stay focused and relaxed. One of the nurses commented on how content and comfortable he looked with me, as if we had known each other for years...she said "he definitely knows your his mama"....and that was yet another bonding moment for Landon and me.

With Garrett, it's a little different because he's being gavage-fed so the only opportunity I really have to bond with him is to make sure I'm holding him and talking to him during his feedings. I make sure he has a pacifier in his mouth during his feedings so he learns to suck while his tummy is being filled. The first time I offered him the pacifier, he was funny...he wasn't quite sure what to do with it but after a few minutes he sucked it right into his mouth and went to town with it. Now his sucking reflex is getting much stronger and the nurses feel he may be ready to bottle feed in the next few days. My bonding moment with him happened almost right away because the first time I held him, he was wide awake and very alert. As soon as I started talking to him, he looked right at me and didn't look away at all, even as he heard other voices around us. He has such a weak, tiny little cry (I'll try to figure out how to upload a video I have of him crying)...and the nurses all say it's such a distinct, different cry than they've ever heard. I think it's just because he's so tiny...Landon sounds much stronger when he cries, which is very rare. But Garrett has a tiny bit of a diaper rash so when he's changed, he cries, which breaks my heart because it sounds so sad to hear his little tiny cry. And I can't help but be so protective of Garrett because he's so tiny and seems so fragile, compared to Landon, who is still small himself. But when you look at them together, there is an instant feeling of wanting to protect Garrett because he's such a little tiny guy.

And what a difference a couple weeks in the womb will do!!! With Cole and Bella, we had so many setbacks and scares....it's nice with these little guys that the biggest challenge right now is making sure they put on weight, keep their feedings down and learn how to breathe, suck and swallow. So far they haven't experienced reflux, sleep apnea, brain bleeds...nothing we had to worry about with Cole and Bella. It's nice to go into the NICU and hear nothing but positives about how Garrett and Landon are doing. When we'd visit Cole and Bella, the nurses would usually start off with "So do you want the good news or the bad news first?"

Cole and Bella got to see Landon and Garrett for the first time on Tuesday....I was able to hold each baby up to the window for them to see. They were amazed at how tiny the babies were...Cole loved that Garrett has a pacifier...Bella loved watching Landon eat his bottle. Now everyday Bella asks me where the babies are and when they're coming home. She has promised to be my little helper....Cole could care less. Bella loves to look at my c-section incision and examine it...she always asks "does it hurt?"...she seems very interested in knowing how the babies got out of my belly. I'm more concerned about the day she wants to know how they got IN my belly...hahahaha!!!

The other day when I was pumping breast milk, she wanted to come in and see what I was doing. I had told Tim I needed him to watch the kids for a few minutes and I needed it to be quiet upstairs so if he could keep them downstairs, I'd appreciate it. Next thing I know he's letting Bella into the room, saying she wants to see me. So there I was trying to pump both boobs with her wanting to hold the bottles up to my boobs, wanting to know what I was doing, how was the milk coming out, could she have the milk, why wasn't it chocolate milk....she was driving me nuts with all her endless questions!! Now when I go pump, I tell her "Mommy has to be pump some milk for Garrett and Landon" and when I'm done, she says "Mommy, did you pump it?"...she's very interested in everything that has to do with the process.

The boys lost a little bit of weight in the last week but they are slowly gaining it back. Garrett now weighs 3 lbs, 8 oz and Landon is 4 lbs, 11 oz. The nurses thought that Landon might be ready to move to an open isolette yesterday but his temperature was a point below where it needed to be so they were going to give it another day. They're both doing really well and all the nurses have said how sweet they are. Many of the nurses who were in the NICU when Cole and Bella were there are still there....many of them remembered us and they were astounded by the fact that we now have another set of twins...especially one of the neonatologists. He's always been into research and very interested in things that are different....the first night we visited the NICU, he was there and asking all kinds of questions. He seemed fascinated that with both pregnancies, we experienced such a big growth discordance...he said "I wonder what the chances are of that happening two times in a row..."....beats me...I didn't think it was really that fascinating. And then the fact that we had to do IVF to conceive Cole and Bella and went through another IVF cycle after that with our frozen embryos yet these little guys were conceived naturally, with no medical intervention. He seemed very fascinated with that too for some reason. He's interested to know if the boys are identical or not...we are too...and Dr Dixon told us that he sent the placenta over to the lab to be examined so we should have a report soon. He couldn't tell just by looking at it if it was one big placenta or two fused placentas. The boys do look a lot alike, except in hair color. But if Garrett was as big as Landon, I'd definitely have a hard time figuring out who is who.

So in the meantime, we just go about our crazy life....it's hectic and I walk around with my head in the clouds most of the time, feeling very fuzzy and unfocused. I can't remember from second to second what I'm supposed to be doing...the other day I put something in the microwave for Cole and Bella and as I was walking to the microwave to retrieve the food, I actually forgot what I was doing and went back and sat down. Then Bella said "where's my food?" and I said "what food?"....she pointed to the microwave and I yet another "oh crap" moment!! I'd forget my own name these days if that were possible. I'm trying my best to keep up with the pumping because I really want the boys to at least have some breasst milk in the beginning...the nurses keep reminding me to get lots of rest, stay very hydrated, make sure I'm eating enough....and I think "okay, I'll do that in between visiting the boys in the NICU, taking care of Cole and Bella, making sure the house is clean, and oh yeah try to take care of myself in the meantime...did I even shower today or eat breakfast??" And I know things will only get more crazy once the boys are at home but I'm looking forward to it and beginning our life as a family of 6....

Here are some recent pics of the boys....

Landon (you get a sense of how small he is compared to my hand)


Garrett (that's my sister's hand in the picture..look how small he is!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Garrett Ian and Landon Evan are here!!!

After many runs of false labor over the last 4 weeks, Garrett Ian and Landon Evan have finally arrived. They were born 7 hours shy of 34 weeks gestation...that's close enough to my goal!!! Here's their birth story and I also attached a link to a site where my friend Bonnie posted some pics she took of them in the NICU. The pics came out beautiful (thanks Bonnie!!!)

I'll try to summarize in the most concise way so it's easier to read:

Friday, 3/9 - 3:30-5:30 pm
Start having contractions every 8-10 minutes but I decided just to keep drinking fluids and stay on my left side and hope they start to minimize

Friday, 3/9 - 6:45-8:45 pm
Contractions are now coming every 4-6 minutes and I'm starting to feel crampy so I call L&D and the nurse remembered me from the week before (how BAD is that??) and said I better come in right away.....we call my sister and make arrangements for her to stay with the kids, thinking this is just another run of false labor and I'll get a shot of terb and be back home in a few hours

Friday, 3/9 - 10:00 pm
I'm all set up on the monitors and the nurse, Natalie, is awesome...she says since the terb hasn't seemed to hold me in the past and the nifedipine obviously isn't holding me either, she'll just run a bag of IV fluids and see if that will slow down the contractions, due to possibly dehydration. At this point (being so close to 34 weeks), they don't do mag unless it's an extreme situation. If the bag of fluids runs out in an hour or two and I'm still contracting, they will just go ahead and do the c-section....Tim and I both look at her wide-eyed and say "REALLY??"...we were SO not prepared to meet our boys today!!!

Friday, 3/9 - 10:30 pm
Natalie comes back and says Dr Mathis (OB on call) wants her to check my cervix...she does and says it's now dilated to between 1-2 cm. She says she has no doubt in her mind that I'll be having the c-section tonight and the OB will be in to speak with me.

Friday, 3/9 - 11:00 pm
Dr M comes in to speak with us....she notes I'm having contractions every 4-6 minutes and I'm now beginning to dilate so she says they'll just go ahead and do the c-section and she'll start the paperwork....yeah!!!! They'll probably be able to do it around 2:00 am.

Saturday, 3/10 - 12:00 am
In doing the paperwork, Dr M realizes I'm on Heparin and she would prefer I go a full 24 hours off the Heparin before she delivers. I just happened to miss my 8:00 pm dose that night b/c I was dealing with the contractions. Usually you only have to wait 12 hours for Heparin to wear off but she wants to be extra cautious. She explains she'll deliver me first thing in the morning, probably around 6:30-7:30 am

Saturday, 3/10 - All Night
The contractions continue to run the course of the night, some being very intense and painful that I have to remember to breathe through them. Dr M suggest I take my nifedipine to hopefully ease them up for the next few hours, even though she knows it won't completely stop them but at least I wouldn't be in as much pain. Around 4:30 am, Natalie comes to check on me and she offers me pain meds through my IV but I decline b/c I told her if she's sure I'm having a c-section, I don't want to be all dopey on meds so I can be alert during the c-section. I tell her I can manage the pain the best I can for the next couple hours...

Saturday, 3/10 - 5:30 am
The pain of the contractions is becoming pretty bad but I'm still so afraid of being dopey and nauseous during the c-section so I make Natalie swear that my c-section isn't too far off...she says Dr M has 2 other patients to deliver and then I'm next....Tim and I are still in shock that the boys will be delivered soon and we'll finally get to meet them!!

Saturday, 3/10 - 6:45 am
Dr M comes in to check on me and she checks my cervix...it hasn't changed at all from the night before. Even through all the painful contractions coming every 4-6 minutes, she says it's probably just another run of false labor...she's not sure now that she wants to do a c-section b/c there is no medical necessity....in the middle of discussing this with us, another patient requires her immediate assistance and Dr M leaves us hanging....I'm near tears at this point, Tim is also just as emotional....having mentally prepared to finally meet our boys and then now learn that they just might send me home after a night of painful contractions is too much for me to swallow...

Saturday, 3/10 - 7:45 am
Natalie has gone home for the day and my new nurse, Vanessa, comes in and says more than likely Dr M will send me home....I tell her what has gone on most of the night and she says that Natalie filled her in on all the details and she's very sweet and understanding about our frustration

Saturday, 3/10 - 8:30 am
Dr M comes in to speak with us...she notices now that my contractions have actually slowed down and become less intense and with no more dilation, she explains that she can't perform a c-section at this point without any medical necessity. I'm on the verge of tears....and she's very understanding and says she wishes there was something she could do but she understands I'll probably end up back at L&D again tonight and maybe if I dilate further they can justify a c-section. Now I'm in tears....Tim is just downright angry.

Saturday, 3/10 - 8:45 am
Dr M comes back in and says it just dawned on her that she's not sure what positions the boys are in and she'd like to do an u/s....if Baby A is breech and my contractions start back up again, enough to dilate me to 3 cm, she can do the c-section. She does an u/s and it looks like Garrett is breech but she's not completely sure so she says she wants to call in a sonographer to do a formal u/s and get an estimate on their weights and amniotic fluid levels. Tim ends up going home at this point, figuring it'll be awhile until they can find a sonographer to come in on a Saturday.

Saturday, 3/10 - 10:00 am
The sonographer, Jori, comes in and does my scan right away. It takes about 45 minutes. She doesn't tell me much except that Garrett is breech.

Saturday, 3/10 - 11:30 am
Vanessa comes in and gives me the basics of the results of the u/s...when she tells me the boys' weights (Garrett estimated at 4 lbs, 2 oz and Landon at 4 lbs, 14 oz), I become concerned and tell her that 2 weeks ago at my last u/s, Garrett weighed 4 lbs even....is it possible that he's only grown 2 ounces in 2 weeks? Either someone is way off in their measurements or we have a case of discordant growth. She's not sure but she'll have Dr M come talk to me....

Saturday, 3/10 - 12:00 pm
Dr M finally comes in and says she's not concerned about their weights....she explains it's just an estimate anyway and can be off by a few ounces and chances are everything's just fine. She says I can get dressed and go home....I'm in tears AGAIN....

Saturday, 3/10 - 12:30 pm
I call Tim to come get me...he's in a state of disbelief that we've been yanked back and forth constantly over the last 12 hours and he just wants it to be over with.

Saturday, 3/10 - 12:35 pm
Dr M comes in....I'm already dressed and ready for Tim to pick me up....she says she was looking at the boys' weights on her charts and noted that Garrett is only in the 5th percentile, while Landon is in the 34th percentile (or something like that, she explained it in percentages). She says that is a pretty big discordance and she's not so sure now that she wants me to go home...she's going to call the perinatologist and see what she thinks....

Saturday, 3/10 - 12:45 pm
Vanessa comes back and says I should get undressed and get hooked back up to the monitors but I tell her until Dr M comes in and tells me I'm staying, I'm not doing anything....again, I'm in tears, just so tired and wanting this to be over with, one way or another....

Saturday, 3/10 - 1:00 pm
Dr M comes in and says she spoke with the perinatologist and there could be reason for concern but they need Jori to come back in and do a few more measurements on the u/s, specifically an exam on Garrett's umbilical cord blood flow. So now I have to wait for them to get back in touch with Jori again....I still refuse to get undressed and hook back up to the monitors until AFTER the u/s and I know more of what's going on....after a few minutes, Tim comes to get me and I explain what's going on and he's just as emotional as I am....we figure we'll probably get sent home and we start discussing what we can have for dinner...we decide on take out from Black Angus since I've been having a craving for fried zucchini....I haven't eaten or drinken anything for a good 19 hours at this point b/c they want my tummy empty in case they do find a reason to do the c-section. Those fried zucchini was all I could think about at this point....Tim makes a joke that now that I'm so focused on having those zucchini that I'll probably have the c-section. I tell him to bite his tongue....I'm no longer teary-eyed, just irritable and tired.

Saturday, 3/10 - 2:00 pm
Jori comes back and does the u/s....she doesn't tell us anything but says she's going to make sure she has exactly what Dr M has requested before she goes home again this time. Vanessa tells me that the next OB on call is Dr Dixon, my beloved OB from when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella. He didn't get to deliver them b/c it was an emergency situation so we're excited at the thought that we'll get to see him again and there is a chance he may deliver these twins!!

Saturday, 3/10 - 2:30 pm
Vanessa walks into the room with a gown and says "Happy Birthday, Babies".....Tim and I look at her in shock...."you mean, we're having the c-section???"....we're both very excited but then it dawns on me that there must be a problem with Garrett's umbilical cord and that's the reason why the babies are being delivered. I instantly go from feeling happy and excited to being overly worried and very concerned that something is terribly wrong with Garrett. Vanessa explains that they did find there is some restriction in his umbilical cord but that one of the OB's would be in to talk to us about that in more detail....

Saturday, 3/10 - 3:00 pm
I'm now hooked back up to the monitors and Tim and I are just waiting for a more formal explanation....I can't stop worrying about Garrett and praying he's okay and that we haven't caught this problem too late. Vanessa comes back in to check on me and I tell her I can't stand it anymore and I have to know exactly what's wrong....she says that they like to see the pressure in the cord at this point in gestation under 3 and Garrett's is at a level of 6 so his blood flow is being compromised. She says there is no way I'm going home at this point and if they try to send me home she promises she'll raise hell and bring up the issue of liability if they don't deliver....she goes to check with Dr Dixon and finds that he's just waiting on a formal report from the radiologist, and not just the interpretation from the sonographer, before he makes a final decision. Vanessa tells Tim he has time to go home and get the camera and grab a bite to eat so he leaves and says he'll be back within an hour.

Saturday, 3/10 - 3:30 pm
Dr Dixon comes in and says he has to the c-section right away....that there is too much pressure in Garrett's umbilical cord, compromising him of blood flow and oxygen. He's not sure if it's due to entanglement, a knot or just running out of room and he can't make any promises that Garrett will be okay....he says we just have to pray to God that He'll be watching over Garrett and take good care of him. He's planning the c-section for 4:15 but then notices Tim isn't there...he says call him and get him back here right away. Again, I'm very emotional and start crying....so Dr Dixon relies on his excellent sense of humor and says "well, while we're in there, we might as well deliver Baby B too".....I manage to still have sense of humor left at this point and I actually found his comment pretty funny. I call Tim and say "get back here right away, we're having the boys today"....he has a mouth full of burrito but says he'll be there as soon as he can.

Saturday, 3/10 - 4:00 pm
Still no sign of Tim and Dr Dixon is becoming anxious, as he really doesn't want to wait any longer to start prepping. He says he'll have the anesthesiologist, Dr Cain, come in to talk to me in the meantime as they get the OR prepped and hope Tim walks in any minute, which he does fortunately. Dr Cain comes in a few minutes later and we talk about the spinal tap and he recommends using Demerol this time instead of Morphine since I had such a bad reaction to it with my last c-section. He says he thinks I'll do okay on the Demerol and they also give me an anti-nausea medication to cover the bases even more.

Saturday, 3/10 4:15 pm
Vanessa comes in and asks if I can walk to the OR....she says "well, this is your last stroll as a pregnant woman"....she has been admiring my "beautiful pregnant twin belly" since she came on shift and has been telling all the nurses she can't believe I don't have any stretch marks after 2 twin pregnancies....I tell her if I wasn't already married to Tim, I'd want to marry HER!

Saturday, 3/10 - 4:30 pm
Dr Cain gets me up on the table and starts working on the spinal....he's having a really hard time finding a good spot. He finally gets the needle in but can't get any spinal fluid...he draws the needle out and says he needs to try again in a different spot. I'm bent over, tight in a ball, with Vanessa standing in front of me reminding me to relax and take deep breaths....Dr Cain is pushing on my back so hard that I'm thankful Vanessa is in front of me b/c I fear falling off the table face first!! He does the 2nd spinal....again, he has the same problem...no spinal fluid. He says he's gonna try something else....again, he does it a 3rd time and has the same problem. 30 minutes has gone by and Dr Dixon comes over to check on the progress and says we need to get moving b/c he doesn't like me being all balled up in that same position with Garrett already having blood flow issues....they decide together that I need to be put under general anesthesia so they can get going....the minute I hear this I become very emotional and start crying a river....after all this, I realize I won't be awake when my boys are born and not only am I being robbed of that experience, but now Tim is being robbed of it since they won't let him come in the OR. But I quickly regain my composure when I realize it's more important for the boys to come out then it is for me to see them and hear them cry as they are born....I lay down on the table and Dr Cain puts the mask over me and says "early congratulations....we'll see you in a little while, Mama". Before I conk out, I hear one of the nurses talking to Dr Dixon about Landon's position in the womb and he says he may need her to push on my chest to push him towards the uterine opening....at this point, I'm thankful I won't be awake to experience that....

Saturday, 3/10 - 6:30 pm
I wake up feeling groggy and with Dr Cain standing over me asking me how I feel. One of the nurses comes over and starts pushing on my belly and I hit her arms and tell her to get off me....I'm just so sleepy and I want to know how the babies are. Tim is sitting there next to me and telling me the boys are okay....Landon was very groggy and sluggish from the anesthesia and he needs oxygen but Garrett is healthy and appears to be fine, no affects from the umbilical cord. He tells me the time they were born and their birth weights:

Garrett - 5:21 pm; 3 lbs, 10 oz, 16.2 inches long
Landon - 5:22 pm; 5 lbs, 1 oz, 19.5 inches long

He shows me pics on the camera but I'm still kind of out of it and I don't remember even seeing them. As I continue to recover and wake up more, I see Dr Dixon come into the recovery room to do paperwork. He comes over and says that it appears that Garrett is doing well and hopefully will continue to do well. He mentions that his cord actually looked good so there was no knot but maybe just the positioning of where he was or just running out of room is what caused the problem. He also mentions that my uterus was paper thin and he had a hard time putting it back together....he says if I had stayed pregnant even another week or two, my uterus might have ruptured. We had decided to go ahead with the tubal ligation so he was happy to hear I'm done with future pregnancies, as he wouldn't recommend getting pregnant again. He said that between the 2 twin pregnancies, my uterus has been overly compromised and he's glad we put it into retirement.

I finally get wheeled into my post-partum room and by now I'm feeling awake and not loopy or nauseous at all....but b/c I have a catheter and I've been under general anesthesia, they want me to wait to see the boys until the next day. I can hardly stand to wait but I know they're in good hands in the NICU....Tim goes and checks on them one last time before we turn in for the night. They are both doing well....Landon is still on oxygen but otherwise both are hanging in there.

Sunday, 3/11
I finally get to see the boys for the first time around 11:00 am....they are beautiful....tiny, but beautiful!!! Garrett is almost as small as Bella was when she was born...he has a head of blonde peach fuzz and he's very alert. Whenever he hears my voice, he opens his eyes and tries to find me. Landon is much bigger and I tell the nurse "gosh, they remind me of that movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito"....he has a head of brown peach fuzz and he's happy to sleep....never waking up the whole time we were there.

I checked out of the hospital today, Tuesday.....they'll be in the NICU for at least 2 weeks, if not 3. Landon may get to come home before Garrett...he's now off the oxygen and bottle feeding. Landon is being gavage-fed for now as he wasn't quite sure what to do with the bottle. I got to hold Landon today while he was awake....it's hard to tell if they're identical or not, even with the different color of hair which is really not that noticeable. They definitely have some similarities and I can't tell them apart when I look at pictures. The neonatologist says he's going to keep in touch with the lab since Dr Dixon had the placenta sent over for examination...that should tell us whether they are identical or not.

Cole and Bella still haven't seen the babies or pictures yet....they aren't allowed in the NICU. My mom tried to tell Bella that Garrett and Landon aren't in Mommy's belly anymore, that they're at the hospital and Bella became very upset and insisted that the "babies are in Mommy's belly". I can't wait to show them pictures tonight and see their reaction!!!!!

Thanks again for the prayers....I appreciate if you've read this far!!! Here are the links to the pics that Bonnie took:

http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b112/bonnie_early/Garrett%20and%20Landon%20March%202007/?start=all

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel....

We had a great OB appt yesterday! I really hate using a wheelchair, even though I know it's necessary at this point. And if I even try to stand up for a minute, Tim is right there insisting I sit back down in the darn thing. We got off to a funny start at the OB's office....normally, the nurse calls the patients back and gets all the vitals and takes you to the exam room and asks you a bunch of questions. They don't allow anyone else to come with you at that point b/c of the new privacy laws. So usually Tim waits in the waiting room until the nurse comes and gets him. But yesterday, the nurse let him come back right away, saying we've been there so often and my OB doesn't mind if Tim is in the room at first so she cut us some slack. But when she was motioning for Tim to come back, he got all confused and in the waiting room full of husbands waiting for their wives, he says loudly "Don't I have to wait here?" and the nurse was trying to be very subtle and she shook her head and motioned for him to come to the door. So again Tim says, all confused, "Usually they have me wait until you call me back"....I finally said "Will you just come here??" and we get in the back and the nurse laughed and said "Why don't you just blow it for me??" Good thing she has a sense of humor! Well, if Tim has any faults, it's being too honest I think!

The first thing my OB did was check my cervix and I was surprised that she didn't have to reach very far to get to it, like she has in the past. Then she said she was able to get her index finger in so she figured I was about 1 cm dilated and it's very, very thin, much thinner than the last time she checked me. Kinda wierd, considering I had just had it checked at L&D the other day and the OB said everything was okay but it's possible that it changed that much in 24 hours. She said she could feel a baby body part, probably Garrett's back, which concerned her if he continues to lay in a transverse position. The concern is that if my water should break suddenly and I start to dilate quickly, his cord could fall through and become compressed, compromising him of oxygen and blood flow. Tim and I got a little freaked out and asked if I should just be admitted to the hospital and she said we could wait it out a little while because he may change positions and/or my water may not even break. She said she'll continue to check my cervix at least 2 times a week at this point to monitor the progress. In the event that my water does break while at home, she said to get to L&D immediately....no time to mess around. So we came up with a new plan...if the kids are home from school or it's in the evening, we'll just take them to the hospital with us until my sister or my mom can come get them. That saves us the time of waiting for someone to come to our house to watch them. And if it's the middle of the night, we may have to ask one of our neighbors to come over and hang out until my sister can come over. I really pray it doesn't happen in the middle of the night though...it's so much more stressful to make arrangements and I hate to inconvenience anyone.

The great news is she was willing to move up my c-section date from 38 weeks to 36 weeks....yeah!!!! At first, she said she would do it during week 37 but after looking at the calendar, she realized she'd be gone that week and she has the OR already scheduled for March 30 at the hospital. I'll be 36 weeks, 5 days on that day so she said she felt comfortable enough doing the c-section on that day. So if I can keep these boys cooking a little bit longer, March 30 will be our BIG day!! 2 days before my birthday....I can't think of a better birthday present!! And the best thing about getting to that point is that she was pretty confident that the boys will be able to come home with us when I check out of the hospital....will Tim and I know what to do with 2 full-term pudgy, pink babies???? I would imagine it will be a lot easier with not as many worries and concerns as we had with Cole and Bella. I remember it would take each of them about 45-60 minutes to finish a 3 oz bottle and then burping them would take forever, if we could even manage to keep them awake during the feeding. It was very challenging and frustrating at times. She said if they do come early, around 34-35 weeks, there is a possibility they may need a little NICU time but not nearly as much as Cole and Bella, which is a relief. Now Tim really needs to get on the ball and get things ready for the boys....we don't even have their carseats ready to go yet!!

I talked to my OB about the horrible crotch pain I've been having and she said it's the pelvic bones softening and spreading to make room for the babies as they drop. It's wierd to be experiencing things now that I never experienced during my pregnancy with Cole and Bella, as I never got this far with them. I would imagine the boys have to be close to at least 5 pounds by now, if not more. And then she said there is a possiblity as they gain more weight and there's more pressure that my pelvis could become completely separated and I wouldn't be able to walk!!! My mom had warned me of the same thing, as she knows someone who had twins and experienced this. Let's pray this doesn't happen....it sounds downright painful...more painful than the crotch pain I'm already dealing with now.

Then my OB had the nurse schedule me for the next 2 weeks for appts and I have another ultrasound on the 22nd so that gets me through the next 14 days. Only 23 more days until my c-section....I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and it feels GREAT!!! It's amazing how just the other day I was in tears, feeling very depressed on strict bedrest and wondering how much longer I could do this and now just having a date set, I feel so much more encouraged and positive that the next 3 weeks will go by quickly and hopefully be uneventful.

After that, I went down the hall for my NST. The nurse checked their positions on the u/s maching and sure enough, Garrett was transverse with his back against my cervix. And Landon was head down but higher up on my right side so they're kinda laying in an L position. This was encouraging because it seems like Garrett has room to move a little bit and maybe he'll get back into a head-down position, which would make me feel better after hearing my OB explain the risks of him being transverse if my water should break and I begin to dilate more. She checked the level of my amniotic fluid and it was a little high, around 16.4, so she's gonna check it again on Thursday when I go back.

We got the babies on the monitor and they were pretty sluggish for the first 20 minutes so she gave me some cold water to drink. Then Landon came to life and we got enough accels on him for her to be pleased but Garrett still continued to be a concern, as he still wasn't really moving too much. I kept poking at him and trying to shove him around a little bit and finally the little guy started moving and 40 minutes later, he had enough accels to pass. But I had been having contractions every 8-10 minutes and the nurse said that my OB might want me to go to L&D and I just had to roll my eyes at the thought of going back there again. Thankfully, once she checked with my OB, she said it was okay for me to go home b/c my OB had already checked my cervix but I had to agree that if the contractions continued or got stronger I'd go into the hospital. Once I got home though and I was able to comfortably lie down, the contractions lessened and I got through the night without any worries. The nurse did say it sounds like the nifedipine might not hold me for much longer though since I had just taken my pill an hour before my NST and I was still having breakthrough contractions. I can only hope it'll continue to hold me at least another week or two, if I can't get another 3 weeks in.

So everything at this point is kinda touch and go.....I love that we have a c-section date scheduled but at the same time, part of me is worried that I won't make it that far. But then again, I've made it further than I did with Cole and Bella which is a huge accomplishment in my eyes. I'll be 34 weeks in just 3 more days and that was my personal goal from the beginning so if I can make it to that point, I'll happily give myself a pat on the back!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Fun times at the Gaither household

We've had lots of "excitement" here lately...at least we can say we're not a boring family. Sunday night, Tim's parents dropped the kids off and we put them to bed and everything seemed fine. But while Cole was sleeping he seemed agitated and he woke up a couple times crying. The 2nd time he said his ear hurt so we gave him Motrin and some Triaminic because we noticed his coughing was getting worse. We figured we'd wait until the morning and take him to the pediatrician. Cole wanted Tim to sleep with him so I went back to bed by myself. Then at 3:30 am, Tim comes storming in the bedroom, flips on the light and yells "Sweetie, you have to get up"...my first thought was that my water broke in my sleep and I had wet the bed or something! Then he told me to go downstairs and be with Cole while he was on the phone with an operator from 911. Cole did not look good...his face was very pale and cool to the touch and so were his hands and his feet. But he was shivering and he kept stiffening his arms and legs, as if he had no control over them. Tim tried to take his temperature but our thermometer decided to take a crap right then so I felt his back and it was very hot to the touch but his face, hands and feet remained cool. And his breathing was very erratic and his little heart was pounding...I could tell he was really frightened and I was trying my best to calm him down. I grabbed his inhaler and had him take a few slow puffs and that did help with his breathing...he was able to calm down and his breathing became more regular. But he was still shivering pretty badly and stiffening his arms and legs. Finally a firetruck arrived and all these firemen piled into the house and that's when I realized I was in a tank top that barely covered my huge belly and a pair of torn up boxer shorts so Tim ran up to get me a bathrobe (which still didn't really cover me but it was better than not being at least semi-covered). Cole started becoming more frightened when all the firemen started piling in the house and then an ambulance arrived, so more people were coming in. How Bella slept through all this, I'll never know. They even pulled up to the house with all the lights and sirens and I was so sure she'd wake up but she never did. They tried to take his vitals but couldn't get any so they just decided to stop wasting time and get him in the ambulance to start heading over to the hospital so they could get him on oxygen and give him some more albuterol on the way over. He was so cute as I said goodbye to him....I said "you get to ride in an ambulance...how cool is that" and he said in a tiny weak voice "okay"....Tim went with him and I think that's probably the only reason he didn't freak out.

Of course I ended up staying up waiting for Tim to call and he finally did and they were still waiting for the doctor to come in and see them but at least they were in a room with a bed and Cole was trying to get some sleep. They took his temperature and it was 38.9 celcius...still not sure what that is in farenheit but I knew it had to be high. After we hung up, I don't think I prayed as hard as I did during that moment....every possible scenario was going through my head and I kept imagining the worst. But I knew he was in good hands being at the hospital but it was so hard to not be there with him, knowing exactly what was going on at every minute. Tim called back an hour later and said that the doctor had seen Cole and determined he had a slight ear infection in one ear and they did chest x-rays and found he has a respiratory infection. Still not sure if he had a seizure or a convulsion due to the sudden rise in his temperature but this was no longer a concern as his temperature had gone down considerably since being at the hospital. So they gave him a couple shots of antibiotics and wrote a scrip for the ear infection and resp infection and said he'd be fine as long as he came home and rested some more.

Against my better judgment, I got Bella up and drove over to the hospital to pick them up. My sister had offered to but she wouldn't have been able to pick them up for at least another 90 minutes and I knew Tim and Cole were exhausted and needed to get home. I figured the drive was only 7 minutes and Bella could climb up into her carseat so I wouldn't have to lift her. Unfortunately though I had been having contractions, cramping and pressure most of the night but I was so concerned about Cole that it wasn't the most important thing on my mind at the time. I felt okay driving over and Tim drove us back home but after being home for about an hour, every time I stood up, I got very crampy and had this horrible aching pain in my crotch and my upper inner thighs. So I called the perinatal service and asked if they thought maybe I should see if I could get into my OB that day instead of waiting until my appointment today. But as I was talking to her I was becoming incredibly crampy and then I could feel Garrett pressing hard against my cervix, which was becoming more intense and painful. She said "I think you better get over to L&D immediately....I don't like the sound of that at all". So she called over there to alert them that I was coming and I could imagine all the nurses sitting at the nurses station rolling their eyes at the thought of me coming down there yet again!! I felt so bad for Tim....my sister came over and stayed with the kids while he drove me over to the hospital....by now the guy is functioning on very little sleep. I'm used to getting no sleep b/c I don't think I've actually slept a couple hours in a row since my 20th week of pregnancy. The nurses were really cool about seeing me again and 2 of them helped me get set up in a room. Tim fell into the recliner and immediately started snoring and I had to explain to the nurse that he had just spent most of the night and the morning in the emergency room downstairs with our son. So they monitored me for about an hour and I had a couple contractions but nothing that was intense or painful. The OB on call came in to check my cervix and he said it was maybe a fingertip dilated but still posterior and high and still only 70% effaced so he felt comfortable letting me go home. I think that was the quickest visit we've ever had to L&D.

Monday felt like it lasted 36 hours....between Cole's emergency and than me having my "OMG, this is IT" moment we were all SOOOO exhausted, with the exception of Bella who had gotten a wonderful night's sleep and had no intention of taking a long nap.

Today, Cole is feeling much better....he's back to his old self, playing with his cars and trains and antagonizing Bella. I haven't had very many contractions in the last 12 hours but I still have that nagging, aching sensation in my crotch that I'm afraid will probably stay with me until I deliver. It's so painful that I can hardly walk to the bathroom and believe me when I say walking to the bathroom is the highlight of my day b/c it's the only form of exercise I get these days.

I have an OB appt today and an NST. Originally, my OB had said she would schedule my c-section for 38 weeks but I think I'll go insane having to wait another 5 weeks. There are no signs that these babies are coming anytime soon, even with all the contractions, cramping and pressure. If I can go this long having this many contractions and not having it change my cervix any, then I think I'm in this for the long haul. So my plan is to ask her if I'm willing to do an amnio at 36 weeks to check the maturity of the babies lungs, if she'd be willing to schedule my c-section for sometime during the 36th week. I had the steroid shot a couple weeks and also knowing that multiples mature in the womb much faster than singletons, I would imagine their lungs would be mature by then. If not, then I'm fine with waiting the extra 2 weeks as long as it means they'll be nice and healthy when they're born. But why wait those 2 weeks and continue to be miserable if they're lungs are mature and they're good weights...might as well deliver them and make me a happy woman again whose hoo-haw doesn't hurt every waking minute of the day.

So wish me luck that my OB will feel sympathetic enough to agree to my new plan....

Saturday, March 3, 2007

STILL pregnant!!

Tomorrow is another milestone....33 weeks!! I'm honestly shocked that I've made it this far! Although I do have to admit, selfishly, that I wouldn't mind if the babies were born at this point, even though I know it would be best for them to stay inside for another week or two. Last night, I was watching Tim get into a nice, comfy position on the sofa with a little smile on his face and I wanted to curse at him....in fact, I might have. And then a couple nights ago, I woke up to him snoring loudly, laying flat on his back....I wanted to smother him with a pillow. I'm just SO uncomfortable these days and I'm so ready to have my body back and feel 40 pounds lighter. Oh, and to sleep flat on my back again....I live for the day!

Tim and I were talking yesterday about how we're gonna manage 4 kids...we figure schedule and routine is key, once again. So here's a tentative plan we came up with....I'll feed the babies during the day every 3 hours, at the same time. They'll sleep at the same time, eat at the same time, diaper changes at the same time....gotta keep them on the same exact schedule. This time, I won't be so afraid to wake one up to eat if the other wakes up to eat. Everyone says "don't wake a sleeping baby"....those people obviously never had twins. The first few months with multiples is all about survival...you gotta do what works to get you through a day! I'm gonna try to give breastfeeding (or at least pumping) a try but I'm not sure how well it'll work out so I'm already planning on having to supplement with formula and that's how I'm figuring I'll be able to get away with feedings every 3 hours. If they were solely being fed breast milk I know they'd need to eat more often than that. I'll do all this on my own during the day, while Tim works....then one of us will go pick up Cole and Bella at preschool and he'll entertain all the kids while I make dinner. Then it'll pretty much be free play until the bedtime routine. We'll take turns with that....one night, I'll bathe Cole and Bella and get them ready for bed while he tends to the little ones. Then the next night, he'll do the baths and I'll take care of the babies. Tim will do the last feeding of the night with the babies, probably around 11:00 pm or midnight and then hopefully we'll be able to go every 4 hours at night so I'll get up for the 2:00 am feeding and then we'll both do the 6:00 am feeding and then take turns showering while we wait for Cole and Bella to wake up around 7:00 am. Of course this is all tentative and based on the hopes that these babies will fall right into this schedule nicely at some point. I know the first few weeks will be hectic as we try to figure things out and find what works for all of us but hopefully by the time they're around 6 weeks old, we'll have our plan in place. It didn't take us that long with Cole and Bella and thankfully around 5 months old, they were both sleeping through the night!

Speaking of Cole and Bella, they were both sitting with me yesterday and we were watching videos of them when they were younger. They both got such a kick out of seeing themselves, especially Cole. When I would put on a video that just had Bella in it, Cole would say "No, not Bella...I wanna see me". It was bittersweet because while I love the stage they're at now, it makes me miss seeing how little they were. I had forgotten what their babbling sounded like before they could talk...I had forgotten how intrigued they were with bubbles in the bathtub...how their faces looked the first time they tried a new food. I'm so happy we captured so many of these moments on video and it's been ages since I had watched them.

The kids have been doing a good job of keeping me company while on bedrest. If I'm upstairs in bed, they'll come hang out with me and watch tv or we'll sing songs. Bella likes coming upstairs and eating breakfast with me....the girl can pack it away! This morning, she shared a bagel with me, then ate half my banana and half of my orange juice. And then she went downstairs and finished HER breakfast!! There are some days I can't stand being upstairs any longer so I'll come downstairs, dragging all my things with me for the day. And then I can just lay on the sofa and watch them play, read books with them and feel somewhat more involved. Being upstairs by myself all day is so isolating.

As of yesterday, Cole and Bella are 29 months....just one month shy of being 2 1/2. I was talking to a couple friends this week about how hard it is to believe that all our babies will be going off to kindergarten in just 2 1/2 more years. I know it's gonna go by fast...part of me is ready for it, part of me isn't. I love the little people that they are turning into...Bella is very social and very talkative. Cole not so much but he's still pretty friendly but prefers to play independently. He's wonderful at sharing and Bella is getting better at it. Everyday they say or do something that makes me laugh. A few nights ago, Bella had the nail clippers after Tim clipped her nails and she said "Mommy, I cut your nails for you....I won't hurt you". Of course, she ended up clipping the end of my finger and I said "ouch, that hurts" and she kissed my finger and said "sorry, Mommy". I've been having blood drawn weekly at the lab and when Cole sees the marks on my arm, he says "let me kiss your owie"....so sweet.

Well, that's my update for today....still pregnant, still hanging in here. I think the nifidepine is the only thing holding labor off at this point. Tim was joking the other day that if I'm that uncomfortable I should just stop taking it....for a minute, I think we both seriously considered it!! I'm gonna try my best to get in another week or two...I'm sure by 35 weeks, I'll be begging my OB to do the c-section....

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Beware of Beached Whale...that would be ME!

Just thought I'd post my latest belly picture for laughs...I'm looking huge and feeling it too these days. I'm all about comfort these days so forgive the lovely attire of pajama bottoms and t-shirt...the bottoms are the only pants I have that I can leave unbuttoned and be able to breathe! Still have bruises and red marks from the heparin injections...thank goodness that's only temporary. I've managed to avoid stretch marks, thanks to Cole and Bella's daily rub down with shea butter lotion!! The OB I saw on Tuesday measured my belly and it's measuring 44 weeks already....not sure how much more I can stretch!!!



Okay, so if that picture didn't scare you off then you'll enjoy seeing these next few pics of the kids!! Our friends, Sandra and Jerry, sent the kids a package full of neat stuff and you'd think it was Christmas around here...they just tore into that box like there was no tomorrow!! I told Bella it was from "Jerry and Sandra" and she said "SANTA????"....she was so excited! They also sent the cutest, most tiniest little outfits for Garrett and Landon, which we'll have them wear as their "coming home" outfits the day they come from the hospital...everytime I look at the outfits, my heart skips a beat!!!










The kids are at Chuck E Cheese right now with my sister and her kids. Last night, I told them they were going and at first I thought I would regret telling them because it's all they would talk about. But then as they started misbehaving and talking back, we were able to hold it over their heads!! Each time we said "well, it's too bad you won't be able to go to CEC tomorrow if you don't get ready for your bath", they would scramble to get undressed!! I've never seen 2 kids hustle up the stairs for a bath as fast as they did last night! Hopefully they're having a good time and not driving my sister nuts, making her regret her offer to take them there!!

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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