Archive for March, 2008

Insecurities of a sleepless crazy lady.

  • I think I have discovered one of the pitfalls of having twins (or maybe it’s just a pitfall of having twins before having any other children. Or maybe it’s just my own particular brand of insanity, and no one else goes through this at all): comparison.

    This Baby is so engaged and eager to interact. The Other Baby is so mellow. Is there something wrong with The Other Baby?

    This Baby is all cream and pink. The Other Baby’s more yellow and red. Does The Other Baby have jaundice?

    This Baby pooped three times today. The Other Baby hasn’t pooped since yesterday. Is The Other Baby constipated?

    It all boils down to the fundamental question of Which baby is the normal baby, and which baby has something terribly wrong with it which requires drastic intervention, and how much more am I damaging that baby with every second I don’t run screaming to a pediatrician?

  • My supply of breastmilk is still building, but slowly. Until I have enough milk for both of them (and I’m still working toward that goal, so please no discouraging comments), I have to supplement with formula. In my pre-birth vision of parenting there weren’t any bottles at all, so as you might imagine, formula gives me a major case of The Hates.
  • Upon discharge from the NICU, we were handed one sheet of instructions per baby. Each item was basically phrased as “Do (or Do not do) X, or else YOUR BABY WILL DIE.” My previous placidity has been forever ruined by these little yellow pieces of paper, as every time I violate a precept (OMG baby slept on its side, not on its back!!1!), I have visions of the jury that will convict me of killing my children.
  • Speaking of which, I’ve been having some really impressive nightmares. Every night it’s a cavalcade of baby-related horrors in my brain. I would detail them here, but it would probably give you nightmares too.
  • Despite all of these anxieties, I am actually loving every delirious, nipple-searing moment of motherhood.

    Don’t even get me started on the nipple-searing, though.

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Photo post because my hands are too full of babies to type.

36 weeks pregnant with twins, right before c-section

Right before the c-section; 36 weeks pregnant.

Wren under bili lights

Wren tanning under the bilirubin lights.

Together in NICU

Robin and Wren after escaping the isolettes, sharing a bed.

Wren right before release from NICU

Wren just before release from Nicu.

Robin the NICU pirate

Robin, the NICU pirate.

Tiny hand!

Can you find the baby in this picture?

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Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Two babies home from NICU!

Wren came home from the NICU yesterday. We are a very happy, very sleepy little family.

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One bird in hand, one still in bush.

One baby home from NICU

Robin* came home from the NICU yesterday. We hope to get Wren* home soon.

*Blog-onyms.

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Liveblogging the NICU

This has been a very wonderful, very hard week. I suppose every new parent can say that, though. It’s 5:38 a.m., and I just finished pumping a little while ago. I need to rinse out the pump collection kit. I might try to grab another little bit of sleep, then I have to eat some breakfast. In less than two hours, I have to go back to the hospital, where I will spend the best, most surreal part of my day until about 7 p.m. Then home to eat, pump, and sleep. Then back again.

Little Boy is doing really well. He spent a while (I’ve lost track of time, so everything is “a while”) with oxygen via CPAP, then went to a nasal cannula, then off altogether. He had some digestive challenges – apparently he hadn’t realized that he couldn’t both be born and keep his umbilical cord – but he’s absorbing food well now and nursing like he was born to do it. Which, y’know, he was. At one point he had a positive Staph culture, and that freaked me the hell out, but the doctor is 99% sure it was a contaminated sample, as there have been no other indicators of infection and no word on the follow-up test (apparently they only tell you if it’s bad?). He was a little yellow yesterday, so they’ll be checking his bilirubin this morning, but I’m hoping his excellent milk-sucking skills are enough to stave off the jaundice. He is a mellow, philosophical fellow, and has taken everything completely in stride. As much as one who can’t yet walk can take things in stride, at any rate.

Little Girl is also doing well, though she is smaller and has her own set of issues. She is also off the oxygen, but still has a nasal cannula blowing pressurized air up her (tiny!) little nose. She has had some jaundice, and is spending some time in the infant tanning booth (I guess she’s a real L.A. baby, after all). She started out with a really good latch and an enthusiastic suck, but her blood-oxygen levels were dropping when she nursed, so now the only time she gets supplemental oxygen is when she’s put to the breast. Over the last 18 hours or so, she has started refusing to nurse at all, and I think it’s because her nasal membranes are irritated from the cannula, and she’s trying to breathe through her mouth, which of course she can’t do very well when that mouth is full of nipple. I just figured this out last night, and I’m going to run it by her doctor this morning. Little Girl is a woman of strong opinions, and has declared herself very peeved about the whole thing.

I’m too exhausted, both physically and emotionally, to link to explanations of all of these terms, so please do your own Googling.

The babies are both absolutely beautiful. Little Boy looks like a real baby now, while Little Girl still has the skinny-monkey preemie look about her – she was born nearly a pound lighter but half an inch longer than her brother. No definite word on when we’ll have them home, but the doctors and nurses have been very reassuring that all of these breathing/feeding/tanning issues are common with 36-weekers, and they are not worried about their long term well-being.

As for me, I am very sore, very emotional, very tired, and my feet and ankles are swollen to the size of tree trunks. I didn’t manage to have my homebirth, or my vaginal birth, and my babies are maybe a little undercooked, but I am happier than I can ever express to have them. Now I just can’t wait to get them home.

Whoops. So much for getting more sleep. Off to scarf down some eggs now.

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Birth Story

Sorry this is a little rough. Things have been hectic around here, to say the least.

On Friday, February 29, at a routine checkup, the doctor noted that I was slightly more than 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. Exciting news, but with both babies breech, he advised against trying active labor due to the risk of cord prolapse. He asked to see me again Monday at noon, and said he thought it was likely that we would be having babies on Monday or Tuesday (though he later confessed he had fully expected me to go into labor over the weekend). When I came in Monday, I had dilated past 3cm, so he sent me upstairs to Labor & Delivery for monitoring. That was where they discovered that I was having regular contractions at four minute intervals. I had known I was contracting, and that it was a bit stronger than anything I had felt previously, but I have a high tolerance for pain/discomfort, and these contractions just didn’t seem that bad to me. Whoops!

The c-section was immediately scheduled for that afternoon. The suddenness with which this was all happening caught me off guard, and I had a difficult time not panicking. Fortunately, we had come to the appointment with our bags packed and in the car already, which helped me feel a little less unprepared. Diane, my midwife/doula/superhero, was able to come over quickly, and she was a huge comfort as I nervously cracked bad jokes and waited. I made sure it was written down in at least sixteen places that I was very allergic to codeine and prone to sudden drops in blood pressure.

I was put in a wheelchair at about 2:30pm, and had one tearful moment when Diane and Husband were sent to the waiting room while I was shuttled down the hallway and into the freezing cold OR. Once I got in there, the anesthesiologist was very sensitive and kept me chatting, maintaining a surreal atmosphere of normality while he injected my spine with the numbing medication. I lay down and stared at the tall blue drape while wiggling my toes furiously until I couldn’t do it anymore, just to let everyone know that hey, I was still here, and if I could wiggle my toes I bet I could feel a big scalpel too, so please, oh god, don’t cut me yet.

Husband and Diane were brought in, and sat down near my head. Husband held my hand and I kept my eyes on his darling, worried face while Diane explained what was going on and found the best angles for photos. I found it strange that during all of this, I could still feel people touching me, and I could feel the babies wiggling inside. Then my doctor announced that he had just pinched me very hard. I didn’t believe him, but he insisted it was true. And then he began.

I didn’t feel any pain at all, but the tugging and pushing sensations were quite noticeable and totally bizarre. Something in the medication cocktail made me a little floaty, but it wasn’t distressing and didn’t prevent me from paying close attention to everything that was going on. I waited for nausea to sweep over me, and was surprised and pleased to find it conspicuously absent.

Much sooner than I expected, I heard squalling, and looked over my right shoulder to see someone holding up Little Boy, who was very slimy and clearly unhappy to be yanked from his cozy spot in my pelvis. I started to cry as I looked at him. I was both amazed and somewhat disbelieving that this child could possibly belong to me. They took him out of my field of vision, presumably for suctioning and apgar scoring, though truth be told, they could have been selling him to Martians for all I would have known about it. A few seconds later, more squalling, and a blood-covered Little Girl was presented for my approval.

This is where it starts to get fuzzy. My blood pressure began to drop, and the floaty medication made me floatier. I remember having Little Boy placed on me for some snuggling and kissing, and I remember Little Girl being held for quick kisses just before they whisked her off to the NICU. She was having some breathing trouble, they said, but I wasn’t worried – partly because I had just heard her yelling, and partly because I was becoming a little detached from reality. My eyes weren’t focusing quite right, and I knew I was on the verge of passing out, but I was absolutely determined not to miss anything and so I held onto consciousness through sheer pigheadedness. Little Boy was placed back on me for the ride to Recovery, and I talked to him the whole way there about how glad I was to see him and how much we loved him and how wonderful his life was going to be. Poor kid, having his first interaction with Mama when she was high as a kite. I probably traumatized him.

In Recovery, they decided that he wasn’t breathing as well as they would like, and so he followed his sister off to the NICU. The rest of the day is basically a blur to me. I know I made some phone calls, probably sent some e-mails, so if you got an incoherent communiqué from me at some point, I apologize. Later that night we went up to see the babies, and I was relieved to find my feeling of unreality being replaced with one of fierce love and protectiveness.

. . . more later.

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Welcome to the world, babies.

Little Boy and Little Girl were born on Monday, March 3, via c-section at 36 weeks gestation. They are 5lbs 9oz and 4lbs 12 oz, respectively.

They are a little premature, and both are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) right now. Little Boy cried beautifully at first and I got to hold and snuggle him for a little bit, until he started having some trouble with his breathing when we were in Recovery, and they took him away to give him some oxygen and monitor him more closely. Little Girl cried well too, but her breathing was likewise a bit labored and they took her away so quickly that I barely got to see her at all. Now she’s having some blood sugar issues which very well might be a side effect of a medication they put her on for the breathing. They’re running some tests and will know more in a few hours.

These issues are apparently very common in babies born at 36 weeks. No one in the NICU seems overly worried, but they’re reluctant to be too reassuring either. I suspect that somewhere deep inside I’m screaming with panic, but I’m in numb, crisis-control mode right now. I spent a couple of hours talking and singing to them last night, and can’t wait to get back up there.

I’ve been pumping regularly since yesterday afternoon, but haven’t gotten much of anything yet. This too is normal, apparently. I’m sore, but not in serious pain.

I’ll try to update with the birth story soon.

UPDATE: The pediatrician just called. Little Girl has been taken off the CPAP and is just on the nasal cannula now, and her blood sugar issues are all resolved. They’re hoping to have Little Boy off the CPAP later today or tomorrow. Yay!

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