Monday, January 7, 2013

So you had a plan..

I apologize for not posting lately, things in the H house have been... well crazy. And here is why...

If you had asked me at the beginning of November how I wanted the boys' birth to go, I would of given you a list of things I perferred that would happen. I wanted Erik to cut their umbillical cords, I would of told you I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, I would of told you I wanted immediate skin to skin with both babies. I would of told you a lot - it's human nature to plan, right?

Well, it's also God's plan to show us that our plan isn't always His plan. The last week of October/first week of November I went into L&D at 31 weeks on two different occasions with contractions very regular. They never really went away, even with the shot of trabutaline that I was given on 3 different occasions during that week. My doctor chalked it up to being dehydrated, which really annoyed me because I was drinking 2 gallons of water a day. I was not dehydrated, and was planning on switching OBs because he had lost my confidence. On Tuesday, November 7th I had an appointment with my MFM and planned on voicing my concerns. I was getting a fluid and cord doppler check, via ultrasound. I hadn't felt the boys hardly at all on the 6th and was itching for some reassurance that they were okay. As soon as the ultrasound started I knew immediately that they were not okay.

The boys had developed TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome) during the 2 weeks inbetween ultrasounds with my MFM. Pretty rare to happen so late in the game. Baby A was the recipenant and had a TON of fluid while Baby B, the donor, had very, very little fluid. My MFM immediately requested a quick BPP (biophyiscal profile) and sent me down to labor and delivery immediately after it was done. At 32 weeks 1 day, he made he decision to deliver immediately. My appointment was at 8:00 am, and the boys were born at 10:43am by an emergency c-section. Hayden Erik made his appearance first and Liam Robert followed at 10:44. Nothing, absolutely nothing went as planned, I didn't even deliver at the hospital I had chosen nor by my OB since he did not have patient rights at that hospital. However, the on call OB was fantastic.

I didn't meet the boys until 7:00 (ish) that night. Erik was able to meet them around 5pm. They were admitted immediately at birth to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Things for Hayden were extremely rough, he wasn't breathing at birth and had to be intebated. I didn't find out until post discharge when I read his discharge papers just how tramatic his birth was, I had been told but I don't think our amazing nurse wanted me to fully grasp it - what mom would want to hear that. Hayden was on an ossiclating ventilator, which was the most heartwrenching thing to see during our entire stay, for about 28 hours or more before moving to a regular ventilator and Liam was put on a CPAP.

Both boys had their battles during their stay, and we couldn't of made it through our time in the NICU without our amazing primary nurses. They are godsends and are two of the most wonderful people I have ever meet. Having their support during the bad days meant more than any one could ever understand. Erik and I didn't have any family near by and declined visitors because of the strict visitor policy at the NICU, we didn't think it was fair to ask family to come down when they couldn't even go and see the boys. Hayden suffered a Grade 3 IVH (intraventricular hemorrage), there are 4 stages of IVH - 4 being the worst. IVH is where blood vessels on the ventricles (that hold spinal fluid in your brain) have bursted. Grades 3 and 4 normally come with a chance of brain damage and a chance of learning disabilites and mental disabilites. Most of the time there is a need for surgical intervention. Haydens neurosgurgeon decided to do spinal taps prior to surgery to see if it helped him start to clear up his bleed on his own. Thankfully after 2 taps they noticed that it was helping and after 5 taps they decided he could be followed as an outpatient. And by way of a miracle Hayden came out of it with no brain damage, confirmed by an MRI prior to discharge. Liam had his struggles as well, he came down with NEC (an infection in the intestines) during his stay and had to be off of food and on antibotics for a week as well as isolation. Thankfully, he never perferated and the situation wasn't as bad as it could have been. Liam spent 35 days in the NICU before coming home and Hayden spent 40 days before we were able to take him home.

Not meeting the boys right away, or being able to hold them, was extremely hard. I was in recovery and the hospital policy was that I couldn't go or be taken down to the NICU until I could walk from the bed to the wheelchair. I had had a spinal and was considered a fall risk. I was in regular post-partum recovery and hearing the other women around me with their new babies was the absolute worst. I don't think I have cried as much as I have cried during the past 8 weeks. I can't help but feel so insanely guilty about the struggles the boys have had to overcome and how much they have had to fight to get to where they are today. I won't ever be able to forget a single lumbar puncture, x-ray, head ultrasound, heel prick, PICC line insert or IV they have had to go through. Nor can I help but feel terrible that I wasn't there from their first minute of life on - they were instead surrounded by nurses and doctors and respiratory therapists. I keep remembering learning in a breastfeeding class that babies are terrified upon delivery and that's why those who have skin-to-skin performed immediately thrive. I can't help but replaying that over and over in my head on an almost constant basis and I feel horrible that they each had to go through that not only without each other close by, but without me there.

It has been so nice having the boys home and being able to be their mom full time. The only things we struggle with now are my emotions to how everything has played out and my emotions regarding what has occured. I quite pumping after a long debate with myself. It took me a while to realize that the side affects of Reglan and the quanity of milk I was producing (less than a bottle for each a day) was not worth not enjoying my babies and dealing with the emotions the Reglan brought along with it. I tried everything and really truly gave it my all, but after 7 weeks, I just couldn't do it any longer. I currently offer Hayden my breast about 2-3 times a day and let him breastfeed for 10-15 minutes before giving him his bottle. Liam absolutely hates breastfeeding, so he only does when he is really rooting for food or else he would scream the entire time. Overall, they are doing fantastic and only have follow up appointments from here on out. They are acting more and more like normal, every day babies and less and less like preemies. We really had God on our side during everything, things could have been much much worse if I hadn't had that appointment with my MFM the morning of the 7th. While we've had a long journey so far, it's still a journey that I am so thankful to have.

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