Thursday, May 12, 2016

Birth Story & First NICU Update

I feel guilty that I haven't updated my blog yet as I know many of you want to know how things are going now that the twins are here... thanks to everyone who has been so patient while waiting for me to give the update! Warning: this is a long post with lots of potentially "TMI" details. I am mostly writing this for myself and putting it out there for those who want to read it. If you want the update for just how things are going post-birth, scroll down :)

I guess the story starts on Saturday evening. I had been having contractions every morning and evening during my monitoring sessions. I could always feel the contractions but on Saturday night they were particularly uncomfortable. After the doctor came in to talk with me it was decided that they would start the magnesium to help protect the babies brains just in case this was real labor. The contractions spaced out a bit but I could still feel them. Between the awful effects of the magnesium, the contractions, and the uncomfortable position I had to remain in to keep the babies on their heart rate monitors I got almost no sleep that night. I thought for sure the twins were going to be born on Mother's Day.

Luckily by late Sunday morning the contractions had come to a stop and the doctor said he was fine to take me off the magnesium. Yay! I took a nice long shower and spent a majority of the day catching up on my sleep. I was glad to see Doug and the boys who brought me sweet gifts for mother's day. I think the best gift, however, was the twins deciding to hang out in mommy's tummy for one more day as each day in the womb makes a big difference!

During my evening contraction monitoring on Sunday night I was having very frequent contractions again but they weren't painful. Since I wasn't feeling them we decided I didn't have to start the magnesium again. However, during the middle of the night I felt cramping and at 5:30am on Monday morning I woke up to painful contractions. I knew I was in labor and there would be no stopping it. My nurse came in and put me on the monitor and saw I was having contractions every 3 minutes. She could tell by my face that they were painful so she decided to check me. I was dilated to a 3 and 50% effaced (the last time I was checked I wasn't dilated at all). She informed the doctor and they started the magnesium and moved me over to labor and delivery. I called Doug and told him to get to the hospital, which he did quickly. My poor mom who was in Payson at the time had to try to get down here before the boys were born.

Once we confirmed with an ultrasound that both babies were head down and were tolerating the contractions well, I was given the OK to have them vaginally. The thought of having a csection was so scary so I was SO happy I might not have to have one! I eventually got an epidural and my parents and Doug's mom got to the hospital. About 5 minutes after my parents got there, I asked my nurse to check me since I had pressure. She checked me and said "OK, it's definitely time. Keep yours legs crossed!" Within a few minutes my bed was being pushed down the hall towards the operating room with an entourage of medical professionals following me.

 Getting wheeled to the OR

Once in the OR, I was moved to the operating table and all the nurses/doctors were in a hurry to get things finalized. I looked around and saw TWO beds.. it hit me, I was about to have two babies!!  Everyone had to be gowned up like they would need to be if I needed an emergency csection (most twin birth happens in an OR just in case this were to happen). I got very emotional as I was positioned to push baby A out into the world. It was 6 minutes from the time we entered the OR to the time Luke arrived at 9:54am by only a few pushes. As the doctor held him up I was overwhelmed with emotion. He looked bigger than I expected, and he was crying the quietest, cutest little cry I have ever heard. This was a huge deal as we didn't know how his lungs would do since he had such little amniotic fluid around him for so long. They took him straight over to the bed where the neonatologist and his team worked to make sure he was ok. Amazingly enough, his APGAR score was 8 out of 9 when he was first born, and then 9 out of 9 after 5 minutes. SO MUCH RELIEF!! He weighed 2lb 10oz and was 14 3/4in long. They bundled him up and brought him to me to give kisses. I was stunned when I saw this perfect little human blinking and looking around. He was tiny, but the love I had when I saw this little fighter was so huge that my heart felt like it would explode!

After Luke.. waiting for Levi!

They took him up to the NICU and now it was time for brother to come. Dr. MacArthur told us that it can sometimes take a while, and since my contractions had spaced out to 5 minutes apart, it may take a bit of time before he came. Every contraction I pushed to get him to come a little lower. His water sac was still intact and the doctor didn't want to break it until he was almost ready to come out. Finally he got low enough to break his bag, and the doctor felt like I shouldn't wait for a contraction to push. Three pushes later and Levi came into this world 42 minutes after his brother weighing 2lb 12oz and 15in long. The nurse said the cord was tightly wrapped around his neck and my heart dropped as the doctor twirled him to untangled the cord. I was so worried as I didn't hear the same cry I had heard with Luke, but the doctor reassured me he still was pink and probably didn't have the cord wrapped around his neck very long. It was a blessing the doctor had me push immediately after he broke Levi's bag because if we had waited he might not have been as okay as he was. His APGAR score was 4 out of 9 at first, and 8 out of 9 at 5 minutes. I kept asking Doug if he was ok and he said he was. Once he was wrapped up they brought him over and we took a picture just as we had done with Luke. Although he didn't have his eyes open as much as Luke he was just as perfect and I loved him so much!

And just like that I was a twin mom.

 My sweet husband was in charge of taking pictures but the nurses took some as well. Apparently my request to all of them to keep the pictures/videos decent was misunderstood so I have a lot of editing to do before I can release more haha.
Doug followed the neonatologist and his team as they took Levi to the NICU. My doctor worked to deliver my placenta which was a decent size - I mean.. it nourished two babies for 7 months! The cords looked so tiny to me, but I was comparing them to the size of the cords of my full-term babies. As weird as it sounds, I'm sad I didn't get a good look at the placenta. Sometimes after the TTTS surgery you can see where the connections were lasered on the placenta's surface. However, my mind was totally elsewhere at the time so I didn't think to ask!

I was wheeled back to the labor and delivery room where my family met me (my sisters had gotten there while I was delivering). They laughed at how awake I was after having delivered twins on little sleep. To be honest I was that way that whole day until 11pm because of all the adrenaline I had. They were so excited and got up to the NICU as soon as they could. When Doug returned to my room he told me they were doing ok but that Luke was now struggling to breathe a little but they were going to give him time before they would intubate him. Doug showed me a video of his breathing and it broke my heart. His chest would totally cave in with every breath, and he was on high levels of oxygen. It was so hard because he was doing so great at birth but now he was struggling.  Luckily by the time I got up to see him (which was a few hours after I delivered) it was a lot better, but he was more awake than his brother because he was still working hard. He just needed a little time to adjust and thankfully he did! All the nurses commented on what a little fighter he was.

Hunter and Landon got to come to the hospital that evening to meet their new brothers. Landon is still too young to understand but he kept pointing at the babies. Hunter's eyes lit up and he was wondering when we could take them home. He insisted we were missing a baby since neither of them were named Bikey. Backstory: when I was pregnant I asked Hunter what we should named the babies and he said "Bikey" and laughed, but he was dead serious apparently haha.


This by far has been the easiest recovery I have had with any of my deliveries. Other than the ultra swollen feet and legs, I'm feeling great! My life right now consists of pumping, snuggling Hunter and Landon, pumping, napping, pumping, visiting the twins at the hospital, and more pumping. If you didn't get the hint, pumping takes up most of my day. I pump every two hours for 15 minutes at a time (besides the one 5 hour break I get at night). With all the prep time, it takes about a half hour, and then I'm pumping again 1.5 hours later. It's so worth it though. My milk is like medicine to the babies with the antibiotic properties it has. I was almost brought to tears after all the hard-earned milk spilt after pumping one time! All the pumping is paying off as I am increasing my supply. I look at supplying food for the twins as my full-time job at the moment. Hunter sees me pumping and he laughs and calls me a cow, it's hilarious.

The babies are doing so well! They have slowly lowered their oxygen levels and have been stable enough to not need to be intubated. There was a scare that they both had an infection but likely the bloodwork has come back negative for that. Levi is now taking 3mL of breastmilk via his feeding tube every 3 hours, and Luke is getting 1mL. They are sleeping most of the day other than during their care times (this is when they get diaper changes, temp checks, feeding, etc.) Levi is pretty chill but Luke gets feisty. It's funny that's how I imagined them when I was pregnant. They both are under lights to lower their bilirubin levels since they have a little jaundice, but this is pretty common for premies. They wear the cutest little shades over their eyes while under the light. They also have lost a little weight but that is to be expected as well. We will probably get to hold them in the next week but we need to wait until their skin is a little less fragile by weaning them off the humidity.  The doctors are very pleased with how they are doing! They will probably be released at about 2-3 months old depending on how they do. They have had a great start so far so hopefully we are looking at closer to 2 months! I can't imagine how we will possibly tell them apart once we bring them home.. they truly look identical at this point!

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers! I'm gonna try to be good about giving updates on the twins NICU journey but we are so happy they have done well so far! We are so incredibly blessed to be parents of 4 amazing boys and for all the support we have in raising them!


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  2. I've obviously been checked out for a few days because I didn't even know you had your sweet babies! I was do glad to see that everyone is safe and as well as to be expected-and that you didn't even need a c section! I can only tell my girls apart with the bracelets they wear haha, you'll have to come yo with something good for your boys. Congratulations!

  3. I've obviously been checked out for a few days because I didn't even know you had your sweet babies! I was do glad to see that everyone is safe and as well as to be expected-and that you didn't even need a c section! I can only tell my girls apart with the bracelets they wear haha, you'll have to come yo with something good for your boys. Congratulations!

  4. Thank you for the update. What miraculous news! Continuing prayers!