Friday, July 5, 2013

Recovery and general thoughts on the experience

Okay, so from where my last post ended....

I was wheeled into the recovery room at about 12:30 and I think they just checked my blood pressure constantly. I remember two older ladies being my nurses, the room was dark, and the radio was on. I asked them how my babies were and they said 'we're here to take care of you' and kind of just went back to their desk area. I kind of laid there for a while trying to be patient and started crying because I was alone and no one would tell me what was going on! Eventually they came back and she said I could call my Mom/Jamie to bring me my cell phone so I can keep in touch with everyone while I recovered. My Mom brought my phone (Jamie wasn't exactly going to answer a phone call from a random number 20 minutes after the babies were born - I was calling from the hospital phone) and I think a phone charger too, it was at like 17%. Jamie texted me a few pictures of the boys and told me that they were both okay. Adam was completely breathing on his own, Scott was on the CPAP, but room air only. It was just a little help in keeping his lungs open. I fell asleep on and off, but spent most of my time awake willing my legs to move. It was the weirdest feeling EVER, kind of like I would never move again. The nurse said that usually you can move after about an hour, I think I was there for about 4. I remember her calling L&D and seeing if they could just wheel me in to my room in my stretcher, but apparently I had to be moved to the L&D bed. Eventually a little after 4AM, they took me out and moved me to the room. Jamie was already in there sleeping.

I slept for an hour or so and I think I woke up and started asking the nurse questions. I remember being really thirsty, but the nurse said I was on restricted fluids. Apparently I should have been restricted to 30ML (essentially a shot glass) every hour the entire time I was on the mag drip (so the past day and a half)... I am SO glad they didn't do that prior to delivery. Anyways, the nurse let me have half a cup of ice, and my mouth was so dry. It was awful. I remember asking if I could have watermelon and she said no because it's mostly water (why I asked for it, haha). The nurses switched off at 7AM and I think they brought me breakfast eventually. I tried taking a bite of toast, but my mouth was so dry I could barely get it down. Any time the nurse left for a minute, I would get Jamie to sneak me a sip of his water bottle, haha. The new nurse was great, she didn't restrict what I ate, so Jamie went to thrifty's and bought me a TON of fruit plates. All I ate the day after delivery was watermelon, pineapple and strawberries. Watermelon was about the best thing I've ever had.

I remember a lot of doctors coming in. The OB I was seeing through my pregnancy came in (he started working at 8AM that morning) and checked me out quickly (maybe about 10AM? Noon? I'm not sure, sometime during the day). With the magnesium,  you are subjected to strict bed rest, and I was told the day prior that I wouldn't be allowed to go to the NICU until I was off of the mag drip. That was the cause of many many tears before the babies arrived. Luckily my Doctor said 'let her see her babies!!!' and they were able to transfer me into a wheel chair and into the NICU. I remember just sitting next to Scott (who I'd never seen) and crying. I don't think I lasted very long, I was so weak. They brought me back to my room, and the day is kind of a blur. I know the specialist I was seeing came in, and we talked about the pregnancy/ what happened. He made it very clear that it had NOTHING to do with my diabetes, and it was a higher risk of occurring because I was having twins. The endo came in, and we talked briefly about how to handle my diabetes - I think she said to leave the basals as is for now (because they never went up too too much) and to cut back my insulin:carb ratios to pre pregnancy levels. Any conversations with Doctors were tough, because I was sooo scrambled, and my mouth was so dry. I felt like I was drunk, hungover, sick with a flu... the whole deal. Magnesium sulphate is nooo fun.

The nurse would take me to the bathroom every few hours to change out my pad, and I remember almost passing out one time. They also brought me a breast pump so I could start trying to get things going. I was literally getting drops at that point, but I would send Jamie off to the NICU with it so that it could be split between the babies. We had a few visitors and Jamie would bring them all to see the babies while I waited and waited. I slept for a couple hours around 7PM and then just talked to the nurse for the final hours until I could be disconnected from my IV at 11:30 PM. FINALLY the time came. They took everything off, but left the IV in, just in case I needed emergency meds overnight. By the time I finally got it off the next morning it was looking pretty grungy (see photo below).
Yuck.. Time to come out!!
They wheeled me in to the NICU and Jamie and I held the babies together. Luckily the nurse told Jamie to go get his phone, and she took a bunch of photos for us. I held Scott with his CPAP, and Jamie held Adam. We sat there for a good half an hour or so, and then it was time for bed. Up to maternity we went, and I tried to sleep for a bit. I still had nurses coming in all the time doing BP checks, giving me tylenol etc, but I think I got a couple hours of sleep.
Veryyyy sleep deprived at this point!!  

Jamie and I holding the babies together for the first time.
At this point I guess it was... Tuesday morning? I don't remember much of Tuesday... I think I went down to the NICU around 9 AM and spent a fair amount of time with the babies. We were shown how to take their temperatures and change their diapers. I was feeling fairly positive most of the day. It was tough though. I just MISSED being pregnant so much. I hated having them in little separate plexiglass boxes, not safe in my stomach. I hated seeing them with IV's and tubes, when they should be happily booting at each other in my stomach. It was a really really emotional time, but I was trying to hold it together. Pumping wasn't going well, and every time I'd try to start, someone would walk in. I had a shower, and felt slightly better, but still pretty crappy. I really don't remember the rest of the day. Everything was kind of a blur - took a good few days for the magnesium to really clear out of my system. My bloodwork wasn't going to normal levels as fast as we were expecting either, so it was a lot of rounds of bloodwork! Jamie went home that night and I got a few hours of sleep here and there. I went down to the NICU at 4AM and first I noticed that Scott had a new IV put in. I didn't know at the time that they would go through so many, so it really shocked me that he had already been re-poked. I asked the nurse if I could take out Scott for a cuddle and I was told that it wasn't a great time. No one had really explained feeding times to me at that point, so it just felt like someone was telling me 'no'. After that I was touching Adam and the same nurse told me that 'they don't like to be petted, they like it when you just cup their hands and feet'. At this time, I was about ready to lose it (bad morning) so I dropped off my puny amount of milk and walked out of the NICU bawling. I cried that morning for a good 2 hours. And on and off for most of the day too. The nurse didn't do anything wrong, it was just that I was already in such a fragile emotional state and a couple innocent comments really hit me hard. I feel bad for all of the nurses and doctors that walked in on me crying that day, haha. Had to get it out of my system I guess.

It was a really rough morning. I was thinking they were going to keep me another night, but I begged them to let me go home. I just wanted to get back to my house so I could start a routine. Finally they let me leave, my bloodwork was returning to normal (which took quite a while to happen... kind of scary) and my blood pressure was starting to return to normal too. I just couldn't handle being there. I hated that I couldn't pump without 5 other people walking in wanting to give me tylenol, take my blood pressure, take a blood test, check my incision, ask how much I'm bleeding. It was awful. I was surrounded by other women leaving with their babies, could hear other (healthy fullterm) babies crying all day. I literally couldn't have a conversation with a guy at the ice machine without almost bursting into tears. They let me out around 1PM. Jamie loaded up the truck, and off we went. When I got home, I showered (in my own shower!!) and got dressed and we started doing the loads of laundry. I was finally starting to feel a little more alive and like myself.

Jamie and I went back to the hospital after dinner for their 9PM feed and that is the beginning of our new routine.... One that I'm not loving. Emotionally, this has been really tough. I'm lucky, our babies were born healthy, just early. They just need to grow more and learn how to do the whole 'suck swallow breathe' thing. We have already had a setback with both boys getting staph infections, but more on that in a later post. I am finding it hard to see other pregnant women. I should still be pregnant. I should still be in pain rolling around in bed, and need help getting off of the couch. I should still have 2 little guys beating on my insides, Adam punching me in the bladder and Scott pushing his butt into my ribs. I know I HAD to deliver them, but there is so much guilt that it's because I got sick that they have to be poked with IV's for over 2 weeks. I never got a chance to take final belly pictures, Jamie and I never even really got a picture of the two of us together while I was pregnant. There was still so much I wanted to do and complete before they came.

Now, things are settling into a routine. I get to the hospital around 11:30 AM (to miss rush hour traffic) and stay for the 12PM and 3PM feedings. I head home around 5, and then Jamie and I go back at 8:30 for the 9PM feeding. It's exhausting. The hospital is 30 minutes away, so it's a good 2 hours on the road every day. Having a baby in the NICU is tough. I get to hold a baby for feedings etc, but you can't do anything else. If you have your kids at home, you can put it down in a bouncer or crib for a moment to grab something to eat, you can watch TV for 5 minutes, you can maybe start a load of laundry. In the NICU you need a nurse to hand you the baby and to put it back, because they are hooked up to so many things. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of beautiful moments. The boys are gorgeous, and so funny and they have such personalities already. It's amazing how much they have changed in just 12 days... It's amazing they have already been here 12 days!

This isn't how I planned on spending my July, that's for sure.I was expecting to be big and pregnant and lie around on the couch and catch up on my shows. I had just bought a new book, which I'm sure will be ignored for a long long time now. I'm really hoping that time flies by and we can have them home by August. I am also learning not to expect anything. Sometimes it seems like we're making progress, but then other times, it seems like they will never be home. The worst part is just missing them when I'm away. I want to be there constantly, but of course that's impossible. I feel like our dogs are neglected because I'm gone all day, Jamie's at work all day - and then we both leave for 2-3 hours after dinner every night.

As a positive, I am feeling fantastic recovery wise. Within a couple of days, I was feeling awesome, and I can safely say I am back to 100%. I have been keeping so busy, and actually super active. When I'm home, I'm running around trying to do errands, walk the dogs, do the laundry, and then the parking lot for the hospital is down a little hill so I'm getting a couple small work outs in every day. ;) All of the swelling is gone, and I am close to my pre-pregnancy weight. My milk came in on day 4, and I have enough that I have been asked to keep whatever I pump at home in my own freezer, they don't have room for my milk anymore.  All I need are my babies at home, and things will be perfect. I feel lucky that I get to spend extra time with my boys, I've already experienced so many wonderful things and I love them so much... and they weren't even supposed to be here yet!

Overall, it's been an emotional roller coaster. Hormones on top of early babies... Who both come down with serious infections... I think I've cried more in the past 2 weeks than I have in the past 2 years! But things happened this way for a reason, and we have to make the best of it. As long I don't hear too many 'you must be getting so much sleep' comments, I'm okay... There is nothing fun about being a NICU Mom. You constantly worry that you're going to get a phone call that somethings going wrong. You're constantly missing your child(ren). You don't get any private time with your baby, there is always monitors, nurses, other parents around. Your child will learn to breastfeed in an open room. Luckily, I'm not shy - but if I was, the only protection from that is a curtain attached to a rod. You are surrounded by other parents with sick/ very premature kids, parents whose kids have been there 12+ weeks already and their journey isn't over yet. It is such a balance of good and bad moments for all of the parents there.

This post sounds really negative. I swear I'm not this negative in person. I am incredibly upbeat about the whole experience, and we have had a ton of great days and moments already. Jamie and I are getting along great, and we're supporting each other through all of this. It's just nice to vent every once in a while, so I guess that's what this is. Everything's still a little scrambled at this point!

Oh! And diabetes wise... I'm running low now. I need to make an endo appt, and I think my basals need to be cut back to pre-pregnancy... That's on my to-do list! Until then, I carry around a lot of juice boxes :)

Up next: How the boys are doing thus far in the NICU. I'm going to try to update it often, because so much has happened already! I'll finish this off with some pics though! I have two VERY handsome little men!

Jamie with sleepy Scott

Adam just a couple days old

Scott and I

Adam and I

Love... Adam holding my hand


  1. Thanks so much for sharing. I had a completely different experience with my boys. So happy that you are choosing to stay positive. Lots of prayers for you and the boys as they continue to grow and then COME HOME!!!

  2. Sweet girl, don't ever feel bad about anything you post! Negative, positive and in between....everything you have ever felt is perfectly normal. This is a scary, challenging, amazing time. You keep pumping the best you can - and believe me, it IS unnatural! It's weird, you're not a cow, you're a mom and the best, most natural way for the milk to come in is with a baby at your breast. But right now, that is not an option for you, so you are doing the BEST you know how, the best you can and that is ALL any baby can ever expect. There is no guilt you should feel - those boys have been given the best possible chance and the best new parents in the world. This moment is here for you to learn things. I firmly believe that we are given the children we need - not the ones we expected or asked for. Parenting is a journey that cuts both ways - for children and parents alike. It is the most exciting, most humbling, most frightening experience of my life - and the most rewarding. Cry when you need to, be afraid when you feel safe to, and rejoice every moment. We have been blessed with the most incredible gift the world has to offer - our kids. I love you Amberley. You, Jamie, Scott and Adam. I am rooting for you every moment - they are doing amazingly well and the future is bright.