First Few Days of Parenthood

So it's been five days since we got the twins home on Christmas, and I have to say it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, it is tiring having to feed the babies every 3 to 4 hours around-the-clock, but all in all there's not much to it. We are getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep in between feedings so it makes being awake for an hour to feed and change them not so terribly bad. Of course I see this now as my husband has had the time off and will have this next week off as well. Having your best friend and partner in crime up with you in the middle of the night makes it a lot easier to handle. When she goes back to work, even though my mom and then his mom will be here for a couple weeks at a time it won't nearly be as fun as having mommy and daddy tag-teaming it
together. Short you will be home in a few days after work but I'm not going to meet him get up and eliminate has to work long day the following morning. Even though he says he would gladly help, realistically I don't want him to be exhausted and out of it at work. I did try to see if there was a way to feed the twins at the same time by myself yesterday while G ran to the store. I was able to do it, but it was rather a comedy of errors trying! I tried cropping them up with the Boppy pillows in all different types of ways and one baby's head would fall to the side, one would start to roll off the pillow… It was quite comical. I think tackling that will be easier once the twins have more had control. I'm still going to look online and see if anyone has posted videos of how to do that while they are still little, so we shall see what I find. 

But so far my husband and I have been having a lot of fun with this whole parenting thing. We fall more in love with these babies with every passing day and are getting the hand of everything. We've come up with a system and it seems to be working pretty well (thanks to a lot of research I did beforehand of reading other twin moms' tips and tricks). We're tired but not terribly. It comes in waves and depends how much sleep we get between feedings through the night. The days sure do fly by though. You'd think being up every few hours round the clock would make the days seem longer, but it's been quite the opposite. Of course they say time flies when you're having fun. It's definitely been a learning process and it's truly humbling to have two helpless little people rely on you to survive. 

But we must be doing something right.... We had our first pediatrician appointment and it went fabulously! The doctor was recommended by our neighbor (a very close friend) and we absolutely loved her!! She is a British woman probably around 50, very soft spoken and calls the babies "pea" and "pumpkin" and is like a snake charmer with them! River crying his usual cranky self and the minute she started taking to him he stopped. The twins got a perfect bill of health, AND gained several ounces each! River is 5lbs 5oz and Riley is 4lbs 4oz! Woohoo babies!

We have a follow up next week, so hopefully they'll gain even more!!

We shall see!

The Littlest Jets Fans

Growing up in Jersey (and my husband in New York) we have always been Jets fans. A friend of mine had these little shirts made for the twins. When we first received them, we didn't think they would get a chance to wear them on a game day since the shirts are newborn size and the twins weren't due until January. But, since they came early and we got them home before the new year they got to wear them after all.

Now... even if you aren't a Jets fan, I'm sure you can appreciate the cuteness!

Christmas Miracle

Well, somehow little Miss Riley pulled it off... The doctor wanted her to gain at least 20-30 grams on Christmas Eve in order for us to be able to take them home and wouldn't ya know, she gained 66 grams!!! So we got to take our babies home on CHRISTMAS DAY!!!
Seriously unbelievable! BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVERRRR!!!!

We found this out on Christmas morning (River weighed in at 5 pounds and Riley 3lbs 15.8oz!) so G and I came prancing out of our room to tell my parents who had stayed over, and so began the sob fest for the pair of them. The literally cried tears of joy ALL day. LOL. We quickly got ready and headed to the NICU to go bust our bundles of joy out of baby jail. I had left special Christmas outfits and Santa hats for them so they were already dressed and ready to go once we arrived. We brought gifts of appreciation for our nurse and the doctor who took care of them since they were born. Once the nurse went over all the discharge information, we got them situated in their car seats...

Just as we were getting them ready to go, a group of Christmas carolers made their way into our pod singing "Silent Night" and passing out little toys for the babies. It was like straight out of a movie! Couldn't have written the script better myself!

We had set it up so our favorite nurse from Level 2 was taking care of them that day and word must have spread because as we were getting ready to leave our two favorite nurses from Level 3 came by to see us off!

The staff walked us down to the car and helped is get situated. I sat in the back between them and the twins were calm as can be the whole car ride!

What a thrilling moment it was to bring the twins home for the first time. Funny enough when we pulled in we couldn't get the car seats out of the bases to get them out of the car! So G just pulled them out, bases and all! LOL (we figured it out once we got them inside). 

What an incredible ending to a roller coaster year! It started in January with us being told we would never be able to have babies, couldn't even do IVF, that donor eggs would be our only option. The following two months we were told the same thing by three more fertility clinics. Lo and behold three months after the first diagnosis (after tons of natural supplements, Chinese herbs and weekly acupuncture) I was naturally pregnant with boy/girl twins and now got to take them home on Christmas Day! Miracle day? Try miracle year! Truly remarkable. I am so  immensely grateful, it's beyond words.

We now have our perfect little insta-family and the fun has only just begun! Can't wait to see what's in store. Having spent two months in the NICU, we are more prepared than ever and ready to take on the twins and be the best Mommy and Daddy we can be!

Christmas Wish

So far it's not looking good for the twins to come home tomorrow. Well, River is technically free to go now but they are letting him stay with his sister. Riley just hasn't been eating well the last two days, most likely because of all the shots and tests they've been through in quick succession. The doctor wasn't happy with her weight gain of 3 grams last night and said she would need to gain 20-30 grams by tonight's weigh in. And with the way she was eating today I don't foresee that happening. I always call during the night shift to find out their weight so at least I'll know tonight. If it's not good I know we have our favorite nurse tomorrow so I'll have her weigh Riley again just to see if she gained some more overnight. (They usually only weigh them once at night). 

So, while it would truly be the best Christmas present ever if they come home tomorrow, I wouldn't want to rush her if she's not ready. 

Fingers crossed!...

Slight Hiccup

Today what is the first day in a while that the twins haven't been on the upswing. They have had a rough couple of days in light of their upcoming exit out of the NICU. They have had a slew of test shots including an RSV shot, Hep B shot, a traumatic eye exam and a hearing test. River was also circumcised and Riley did her car seat test (where we had to bring our car seats to the room and each baby has to sit in them strapped in for 90 minutes while being monitored to make sure their stats stay up). Riv is healing nicely and Riley passed her test. River still needs to have his done though. They also will have an MRI on their brains and Riley has a follow up echocardiogram. I'm not sure if it's because of the stress from all the poking and prodding, but they haven't been doing as good as they were with eating and weight gain. River has weighed the same for the past 3 days and Riley gained, lost, then gained it back. They've both been kind of pokey with their bottle feeds, especially Riley who needs it the most. 

The sucky thing about it all is that the doctor told me the other day if the twins kept up the good work they'd be able to come home on Christmas Day. How amazing would THAT be?! But now if they continue to not eat well or not gain weight, that's not going to happen. Which is fine if that comes to pass, the important thing is that they are healthy and strong enough to come home. I definitely wouldn't want to take them home only to have to bring them back if they aren't eating well. So it's a waiting game right now.

The thought did occur to me tonight that the only other difference this past week has been that I haven't been kangarooing them. Not because I didn't want to, but some of the nurses suggested just letting them sleep without disruptions. It's been really hard for G and I, but we want to do what's best for them. However, now I'm wondering if that has played a part in them not thriving as well as before. It is said that kangarooing increases growth and allows them to sleep more deeply. So I've decided I'm going to see how they do tonight with their feedings and weight and if it's still not great I'm going to kangaroo them tomorrow and see if that makes a difference. It would definitely be good for mommy too, I miss snuggling up with them! 

Fingers and toes crossed they get back in the groove and do well enough to come home for Christmas...

They've Come a Long Way

Seeing the babies every day we sometimes forget how far they've come. I put together some side-by-side pictures to compare what they looked like their first week of life next to this week. Amazing what 7 weeks can do!...



To V or Not to V...

... That is the question.

Last week at my 6 week post-partum checkup, the doctor cleared me to get back to normal (Although I had started attending my dance class again a few days earlier). Cervix apparently looks great and incision  is healing as it should. I won't lie though, I've been pretty much back to normal for a while now. I was driving after a week, walking around just fine. While the first day or so was tiring, I have just as much energy as I did before at dance class and, in fact, just did an intense special 2 hour hip hop workshop over the weekend. I do wear my belly bandit during class, as it keeps everything tucked in and my scar isn't bouncing around. I'll probably continue wearing it for a while for class just to be on the safe side, but surprisingly there's been absolutely no pain and I haven't had to restrict myself with any movements. Everyone has been saying they are amazed I'm able to jump back in, but to be honest it doesn't seem that big of a deal to me. I think because I was dancing every day up until I went to the hospital. I'm just used to pushing myself with pretty much everything in life. Doing everything to it's fullest extent. Probably isn't necessarily always the best thing, but it's definitely worked in my favor over the years.

I also got the green light to have sex again. That was one thing I played by the rules just because I didn't want to do any damage down there. I had read in a lot of different sources that it was common to not have much of a sex drive during post-partum, but that certainly wasn't the case for me! I was just as horny as ever. Perhaps it was because I knew I couldn't and I don't like being told I can't do something (hence having twins naturally when I was told I could never get pregnant) so it just made me want it more. Plus I missed being intimate with my hubby. We just shared the most memorable life-changing week of our lives so I felt closer than ever to him and wanted nothing more to to be as physically close to him as possible. Especially since it's always so good! It did hurt a little the first time, almost made me feel like a virgin again (cue the Madonna song).  But then again I only pushed a 2 lb 11 oz baby out, not a ten pounder. I'm sure that makes a difference!

So now we're back in the saddle we had to decide on what type of birth control we'd be on. Before I had the twins, G and I had made up our minds that he would get a vasectomy and that was that. We had always only wanted two kids, so being lucky enough to have a boy and a girl we'd be done in one shot with an instant family. We were 100% certain he'd get the ol' snip snip and call it a day. But ever since they were born for some reason we are hesitant to get it done just yet. It started with my husband... he's had twinkling babies in his eyes since becoming a daddy. I think for him he is feeling enamored with the miracle of life and the magic of creating it with me. Which I totally get, in a way I feel the same. So we've been going back and forth about it. Loving the amazing feeling of creating life together... but it not being financially feasible to have another. Not wanting to close the door in case we change our minds down the road... but thinking having one more after the twins would be like a 5th wheel. Plus I'm 35 so I'd be at least 37 if we had another and would I really want to be pregnant chasing around two toddlers?! Then there's the factor of me not knowing if I can even actually get pregnant again as my body may very well go back to its I premature ovarian failure state. And if not, if I was somehow able to get pregnant again because of the type of c-section I had I would have to have another and man do I not want to go through that again. But then we think, well what if something terrible happened and we lost one of the twins? If G had the vasectomy we'd always be wondering what if I HAD been able to get pregnant again and we threw away our chance. There's just so many what ifs. And we've only started thinking this way since we had the babies. So I think for now we've decided to just wait a bit and reassess how we feel at a later time. The last thing I want is for us to do this with a heavy heart and be endlessly questioning our decision. 

Which brings us back to the birth control dilemma. I had decided last week that I should just go back on birth control (because I do NOT want to use condoms like we're awkward teenagers, I feel like that is so impersonal and they suck when it comes to feeling). But when I went to pick up my pills I suddenly started thinking about how being on the pill messed up my hormones and was most likely the culprit behind my ovarian failure in the first place. I just think I'd be doing myself a disservice not giving it a chance to even see if my body will actually go back to working properly. 

So I picked up some VCFs (vaginal contraceptive film) and have been using that, but I just found out it's only about 85% effective. We looked into potentially using FemCap (which covers the cervix) but for women who have already given birth 25 out of 100 will get pregnant on it. Ummm yeah that's crazy! 

The whole ordeal is stressing me out and making me paranoid when we do get it on. Primarily because we beat the odds in getting pregnant the first time (a one in ten million chance and then we got pregnant with twins three months later) so saying there's a 15% chance we could get pregnant seems like taking candy from a baby comparatively speaking.

Meanwhile the hubs and are still going back and forth on the vasectomy thing and I think ultimately where we stand is that realistically it's not feasible to have a third child financially, it would be rough physically and not even sure it's possible. But yet for some reason we're still gun shy to pull the trigger...

So basically we're at a stalemate for the time being. I guess we'll just have to play it by ear....

December 8- Little Champions

Well. It's been five weeks in the NICU and the twins are doing amazing! They are growing about an ounce a day!! River is already 4 lbs 5 oz and Riley is finally over 3 pounds! Woohoo! It's been incredible seeing them grow and develop these past few weeks. I do miss having them together (they were separated last week when River got an eye infection and haven't been put back together since). It was so cool seeing them interact, so I miss being able to see that. But I guess in due time...

So a few days ago they both had their first try with bottle feeding. They have been cueing for a while now (rooting, sucking on pacifiers, putting their hands in their mouths when they're hungry) so the doctor out in an order for them to start trying. Well the little overachievers that they are got it in the first try and by the second they both finished their whole bottles! It doesn't happen every time, sometimes they get tired and zonk out before finishing. In that case the nurse will give them the rest through their feeding tube. But they were doing so well with it, by day 3 the doc put an order in for them to start bottle feeding twice a day! And of course they are rocking that, too! I'm beginning to think there's nothing these two can't do! 

Every week the twins are showing their 
personalities more and more. Riley is becoming more alert every day! Even though they still can't see very much, she is so expressive with her eyes. Whenever her daddy or I talk to her (we have always said the same things the same way, even when they were in utero, so they would recognize our voices: "Riiiiiiley. Mommy (or daddy) looooves youuuu") her eyes go wide and her forehead scrunches up in recognition. It's truly amazing to see. And she is SO content all the time. When either of us changes her diaper or clothes or do anything with her, she barely makes a peep. We get the sense from her that she just trusts us. Then there's River. He is definitely proving to be a whineypants. Every single time we change him he fusses. We can definitely see who is the tougher one in that duo, and it's not him! Can't wait to see how their dynamic plays out in the future!

In other news the doctors told me that once the babies are 4lbs and taking all their feeds by bottle they can go home. That's a bit nerve-wracking because River is over 4 lbs already! So once he is off his feeling tube he'll be discharged (and if Riley is close to 4 pounds but not quite she'll go too) and with how quickly they are picking things up that is going to be sooner than we anticipated! Eeeek! So we are scrambling to get everything ready. I organized the nursery, got a pediatrician lined up, set up our mandatory car seat/CPR class at the hospital, hubby put together the stroller... getting it done! Few more things to do before we're 100% ready..., well, as ready as we'll ever be! Everyone keeps making comments that "it's going to be so hard the first few months," we'll get "no sleep," "it's going to be hell at first." We get it. But what are we supposed to do with that info? Not much we can do about it! It's gonna be what it will be and we'll just have to tough it out and get through it. After all we've been through this year, I'm pretty sure we can survive anything that gets thrown our way! 

Pics from Week 5:

    Double Stuffed

    Mommy's bottle feeding with River
    Sweet Riley girl so alert

    The nurses put Riv in an oversized 
    onesie so he wouldn't mess with his 
    eye infection. He loves his paci!
    Daddy's first bottle feeding with Riv 
    So you can see just how small he is, 
    check out daddy's hands in 
    Riley can hold her paci!
    Three generations

    It's official... They definitely look alike!

December 3- Happy One Month Birthday!!!

I can't believe the twins are a month old! (Gestational age: 33 weeks). Of course, once they reach their original due date we will have to start going by their "corrected age." Which means since they were two months early, when they are technically three months old their corrected age will be one month. That's what we'll have to go by when looking at developmental milestones. Supposedly they'll catch up within a year and a half to two years. And while they'll be a bit behind in some of their milestones, they may actually be ahead of the game when it comes to talking because they've been exposed to language longer. Interesting stuff. Time will tell....

In the meantime, they are doing great! They grow every day. River is growing much faster than Riley, but we're told it's because she was smaller to begin with. Plus with her heart not being fully closed yet she breathes faster, therefore burning more calories throughout the day. They are sending a dietician over to see her this week to see what they can do savor possibly upping her caloric intake to increase her growth so hopefully they'll come up with a solution to help her grow a little faster.

While we were visiting the twins the other day the nurse had to put Riley's feeding tube back in through her nose and was having a hard time. G and I watched in amazement when every time Riley was in distress, River's heart rate would shoot up and he would cry. He wasn't looking at her, just next to her. It was this very weird twin connection type moment. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the future!

This week they will be moving from a bassinet to a crib. So many changes in just one week, it's amazing! Ever since they started co-bedding they have been thriving. Their stats have improved tremendously and their cuteness factor has been raised exponentially. They are so sweet and lovey with each other. Riley literally stares at her big brother and smiles! It sounds crazy with how young they are, I wouldn't believe it either if I hadn't seen it for myself on multiple occasions. The nurses all go crazy for these two and today I walked in to find a group of people standing around them. They were apparently part of a tour given to administrators! Too funny. The twins are definitely capturing the hearts of those around them, and for sure they've already stolen daddy's and mine! 

    Plotting their escape

    They do this at the same time when 
    we unwrap them from being swaddled

    River apparently has a bit of Mommy's 
    Jersey attitude! LOL

    Double Diaper Duty

    Kangarooing with Daddy

November 28- Happy Thanksgiving!!

Omg how amazing are these nurses?!? Walked into the babies' room to find this! 

BEST THANKSGIVING EVER!!! We couldn't possibly have more to be thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!!! Thank you for all your constant love and support!!

November 26- iMovie Trailer

Short little trailer I made with iMovie of my pregnancy and the days leading up to the birth of the twins...

November 24- NICU Week 3

River and Riley are three weeks old today! (Gestational age 32 weeks). Riv is growing like crazy, already 3 lbs 3 1/2 oz. By the end of the week they will let us bring in preemie onesies for him to wear! They moved his feeding tube to his nose because the little stinker kept yanking it out of his mouth. But in 2 weeks they both will start weening off their feeding tubes and gradually easing into bottle feeding. Yay! Riley is also doing well, she's still 2 lbs 6 oz- but we found out because of her bubble CPAP and her small size she is burning more calories than her bro, therefore not gaining as quickly. So I'm going to only kangaroo her once a day this week (as taking her out burns calories) to try and help her grow. But she is definitely doing better... No more dropping her heart rate and she is much more alert and responsive. One more week down... around 6 to go....

Here are some videos and pics from this week:

November 18- Pump it Up

Fifteen years ago I had a breast reduction. I had these giant, saggy boobs that swayed with the wind and were not at all attractive. Or convenient. Finding shirts and bathing suits that fit right was nearly impossible and these boulders were killing my back on a daily basis. I was on the chubby side, but no amount of weight loss brought those suckers down even a smidge. My bra size varied between DD and DDD and my bathing suits were an E cup!

At 16 I had learned about breast reduction and really wanted it. I convinced my mom by marching into her room one night and putting different objects under a breast (because it would just stay there without me having to hold it). And we're not talking about a pencil. My demonstration included a purse, a ceramic statue and a large Kaboodle. **For those of you who are too young to know what those are:

So my parents took me for a consultation but I left scared to death at the thought that they'd have to remove my nipples. Of course they'd be putting them back, but to a 16 year old in my mind I was thinking all kinds of weird stuff. Particularly I was convinced the surgeons would accidentally drop my nipple on the floor and lose it, therefore having to replace it with a pencil eraser. What?? I was 16! So I decided to hold off a few years. By age 20 I was sick of my back hurting so I was ready for the reduction. Which ultimately was the best decision I could have made. Recovery was cake and I've had C cups ever since.

The one stipulation with that surgery was that I wouldn't be able to ever breast feed because they completely severed my milk ducts. And honestly my whole life I've been okay with that. Especially finding out I was having twins. Needing all the help I can get, this way my husband and grandparents could help with feeding. Plus with so many people saying what a nightmare breastfeeding can be, I felt like it was really the best case scenario. My OBGYN told me that I would get engorged and would have to bind my chest and not have any stimulation there for a few days, which could get painful so I was prepared for the worst.

Pan to a few days after giving birth. I noticed there was a little stain on my chest but I assumed it was from water I was drinking. But when I saw another stank later that night on the other side of my chest directly where my nipple is I started thinking something must be going on. This happened a few more times back and forth between sides so I knew I had to talk to someone to find out what I should do, if there was anything. 

We talked to a lactation consultant at the hospital who was surprised the surgeons told me I could never breastfeed. That now-a-days they are careful with that surgery not to mess up the milk ducts, but 15 years ago they were hacking away. She said it would have been better had I started right away, but it was not too late and they rent hospital grade breast pumps downstairs in the gift shop.  We were leaving for the afternoon but would be back later that night and said we would talk to another consultant to find out what exactly I needed to do. When my husband went down to get the breast pump there was a super helpful NICU nurse in the gift shop who overheard him talking to the cashier. She offered to come upstairs and talk to me and help me get set up. She reiterated the fact that I was behind the eight ball with getting started on breast-feeding but that was not too late. She said that it would probably take a solid week a pumping before I could even get anything and that would be every two hours round-the-clock. I was feeling very emotional about the whole thing because here I thought I could never do it and was perfectly okay with that so thinking there was some kind of opportunity really messed with my head. There was already so much going on with my ordeal in the hospital and coming to the NICU every day to see your babies, adding this additional challenge seem like a daunting task. Especially knowing that for a week I'd be pumping up nothing. The nurse sat down with me and showed me all the parts to the pump and how to use it. It was pretty complex but I figured I'd get the hang of it. I got started and couldn't believe my eyes when within a few minutes there was white stuff coming out! My sweet husband I was acting like it was the first snow of Christmas! He was so excited and encouraging and excitedly kept saying, "omg that's amazing! you're amazing! Is there nothing you can't do?!?" LOL. I got around a little less than a half ounce out of both boobs, which I guess wasn't so bad considering nothing should've come out. They said they would mix it with the donor breast milk the babies were getting in their feeding tubes. If ever there were a few drops, they would just swab it and use it for oral care which has been known to give them antibodies and still be of value even if it's a trivial amount. It wasn't all that fun and was pretty uncomfortable and knowing I'd have to keep this up regularly amidst all this other stuff going on seems exhausting, but my husband's support and enthusiasm was enough to get me on board. And because it will help the babies.

Flash to a week later and things didn't quite work out as good as I'd hoped. My body apparently works the opposite of what it should. The more I pumped, the less I got until eventually I was coughing up dust. And my nips were killing me! I finally couldn't take it anymore. It was not only affecting me physically, it was wreaking havoc on my emotions. Now I know I should be grateful I was even able to provide a little bit, but when you see moms walking into the NICU with 4 full bottles it really plays on your ego. Plus I'm chock full of a ton of other emotions with the situation in general, postpartum hormones and my body healing from the double whammy delivery that this has been a bit too much to deal with at once. 

So I stopped for a day and then woke up feeling guilty and tried again. Well wouldn't you know something finally came out. Granted it wasn't a ton, but it was at least something again. It took a few times of feeling determined and trying it throughout the day, but the same thing happens. After the first time it gets less and less to the point where nothing comes out. So I've just accepted it. It wasn't supposed to happen at all and I need to just get over the competitiveness that runs through my veins and just pump once a day to get the little bit out and at least they are getting a tad of my milk mixed with the donor milk. It's the best I can do and at least it's something. I wish I could do more, but it is what it is. I'll probably keep this up while they are in the NICU and then call it quits. But at least I gave it a shot!

November 14- NICU Mama

So the babies have been here for 10 days already. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but then again that may be because the days run together. 

I stayed in the hospital for 3 nights after they were born. The day following my c-section I still had my epidural in, so anytime I started to feel pain I would press the magic button and it helped. They made me get up and walk a bit that day, but not a whole lot. I was at least able to walk to the bathroom but not without assistance. My hubby would help me out of bed (which was the hardest part) and I walked a bit like Frankenstein's monster. Who knew you used so many core muscles when walking?! Around noon I was finally allowed to eat after 36 hours. We took a few trips to the NICU to see the babies and I got to hold River for the first time.

And Daddy got to Kangaroo Riley! (They'd what they call skin-to-skin contact here). 

Since they were so little, we could only Kangaroo each of them once a day. Which is SO hard because I want to hold them all the time. I feel like if I couldn't keep them inside me I want to at least have them in my arms. I know someday soon that will change, but it's not easy having to wait.

Two days after they were born, my blood pressure started going up. The nurses come in and check it every 4 hours, and each time it was higher. I am usually around 118/60 even up until I gave birth, but I was steadily going to the 120s, 130s, 140s.... and by Wednesday got up to 165/108. That freaked me out a bit, especially since the last once came right after kangaroo time and I was super relaxed. The doctor ordered labs for me to check for pre-eclampsia so they had to put a catheter in to get a pure urine sample and drew blood. At that point my husband left work and came back to hospital. He had gone back to work the day before because our line of thinking was it would be better for him to take a week off once the babies came home. But apparently his work people thought it was too soon and his boss told him he should take time to be with his family. (Which of course he wanted to do, he just was nervous about taking too much time) but his work was super understanding. So he came back and asked to take time off for thurs, fri and Monday (my birthday) which worked out because his parents were on their way down from upstate NY to spend time with us. Plus I really needed him that first week to get around, as I was still in a lot of pain.

All the tests came back negative for pre-eclampsia but I did have postpartum hypertension. We thought for sure they were going to make me stay another night but several doctors said there was nothing the could do. That this is common, especially after my body going through so much trauma, and it could stay that was for the next 6 weeks. They told me to come back to the hospital if it goes back up to over 160 (which it was back in the 150s at the time). So... As long as the doctors felt confident, I was okay with that. It was a double-edged sword though. All week I had desperately wanted out of there but now that the twins were here I didn't want to leave. 

We stayed in the NICU until 9pm and then was discharged. It was a tough ride home. I really hadn't had time to process everything that I'd been through. When we got home, I walked in and the moment I saw the nursery it opened the flood gates. It never occurred to me when I left home 11 days prior that I'd be coming home not pregnant anymore and without the twins. I regained composure and went to my room to change and another wave of emotion came over me when I saw the bassinet. My hubby held me and soon the tears stopped. I never expected to feel like that. 

Shortly after my inlaws arrived so I really never had a chance to relax and unwind from such a tumultuous few weeks. (They are still here and leaving tomorrow). Plus we've had visitors coming to see them at the hospital, so it feels like it's been nonstop.

The twins are doing amazing! They have no health problems thus far and growing stronger each day. They are 12 days old, but technically they are 30 week fetuses. They both were on and off the bilirubin lights for a week, but Dr said it happens and they are both off now. And...they are both completely IV free!!! Go babies, go! The Drs and nurses are really impressed with how strong they are. Only Riley has her bubble CPAP on to pump up her lungs, but is breathing regular air. They both get dips in their heart rates (which is terrifying) but we're told as long as they keep bringing it right back up like they have been it's okay, it's common with preemies. They both had a skin reaction to the patch that was over their IV and poor River had a wound on his foot from it, but it healed quickly. They may just have lots of allergies like mommy and daddy, especially since they sneeze a lot. They lost weight in the beginning, which is normal. River got down to 2 lbs 9 oz and poor little Riley was at 1 lb 14 oz. They are now both about an oz above their birth weight. The best feeling was when I got to kangaroo them both at the same time! It felt like home. I let my hubby have the honor of doing it the next night and he was in heaven as I had been. Their very first feeding (which is through a tiny tube down their throats to their bellies) started at 2cc of breast milk. They are now maxed out at 24cc for River and 16 for Riley (it goes according to their size) and they are doing well! They won't up the feeds again until they grow a bit more. The nurses told me they actually get more than regular babies because they need to grow faster.  River is apparently way ahead developmentally so they will be moving him to a less critical section of the NICU when a spot opens. Which is awesome, but sucky that they'll be in separate pods for a while. He is sucking on pacifiers and showing so much personality, the nurses swoon over him. As for Riley, she is blowing the nurses away because she is flipping herself over from her front to her back. These kids are crazy tough!

Now that I'm feeling much better (it was a torturous first week dealing with the c-section and getting in and out of bed was a nightmare) I am getting into a routine. Apparently they tell you not to drive for a month, but I don't play by the rules so I was back to driving 9 days  after the surgery and am doing just fine with it. I can walk normally and don't need to sit every few minutes like the first week. I can finally cough and laugh again without bursting into tears from the pain. Occasionally I'll turn the wrong way and wince, and I have to gingerly get in and out of bed, but other than that I'm ok. Scar is still swollen but I suspect it will be for a while. I'm down 20 pounds since I had the twins, but since I gained 45 I have a ways to go. I'm sweating buckets every night soaking through my pajamas nearly drowning my hubby, but from what I've read that is normal during postpartum due to hormones and the body shedding water weight. Hope it doesn't last long, it's gross! 

I have to say, the feelings that have come with becoming a mother are like nothing I've ever felt before. I feel so cliche saying this, but I finally get what everyone says about the love for your kids. I always wondered how it compared to that of the love for your husband, but it's not the same. It's a different kind of love that envelopes you from head to toe and gushes out every pore. At times it is overwhelming and when I'm away from them I feel constantly at the brink of tears, emotions brimming like a bubbling cauldron. Of course it has a lot to do with the fact that my babies are in the NICU and I have to leave them every day and can't hold them whenever I want. My hubby worries I'm at risk for postpartum depression with all this, which is true, but I'm determined not to let that happen. And I'm not feeling depressed, just emotional. Which I'm cutting myself a break because realistically I've been through a whole hell of a lot in a few weeks.

But the love I feel doesn't take away from the love I have for my husband. In fact, as head over heels as I was with him before, that feeling has far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. He's been so incredibly amazing with his love and support through this whole ordeal... The way the love pours out of him when he looks at our babies... How protective he's been over us... It has brought things to a new level I never dreamed possible. I feel so unbelievably lucky to have all this love in my life. <3

I'm trying to adjust to a routine for now. This past week I was driving again so I would come to the hospital around 1230 and stay until 630 (the NICU closes from 630-730 every night for shift change) then hung out downstairs til 730 and my husband would meet me then for a few hours. As much as I have a need to be here as long as I can for the babies, I realized that's just too much to maintain. As hard as it is, I know I need to take a break to run errands, get the baby stuff organized at the house, and take some time for myself. Which really is the hardest thing to do... It makes me feel guilty, like I'm putting something before the twins. I worry they'll think I abandoned them. But I think that's more of my own guilt I'm projecting on to them. I've got to come to terms with the notion that Mommy has to take care of herself to be stronger for the kids. Plus we need to make sure the hubs and I do something romantic at least once a week; some time to connect. So I'm working on it!

Here are some pics from the past 10 days...

What a difference 10 days make... Top pics are from when they were born, bottom is now:



    Mommy's favorite thing to do...

    Daddy's too!


    River grabs everything!

Our little princess 

November 11- Happiest Birthday

I had planned for a long time when I turned 35 I'd have a big 80s party. Then I got pregnant and figured I'd have to find something a bit more subdued, but still special, to do instead. Now here it is, the day I turn the big 3-5 and all I want is to be with my babies. What an incredible shift in thinking. The best gift I could have ever received is River and Riley (plus my wonderful husband and all the amazing support from family & friends). This birthday IS special because it's the first one I'm a mommy. And poor G is now going to spend his years in a house full of Scorpios! Ha! :-D

November 3- Becoming A Mommy

Whew... well a lot sure has happened since my last post. You're not going to believe this. It's all so surreal I still can't believe it...

So just like I thought, exactly 72 hours later I went into labor again. I had been feeling pressure in my lower back earlier in the night, and I let the nurse know because now I was pretty much an expert as to recognizing the signs since this was now the third time it was happening. My husband and I went to sleep around 1am and within a half hour I jolted awake. The pressure had intensified and I knew we were in for another sleepless night, the third one of the week. The nurse told me to get her immediately if I felt any changes so I did. She quickly put the monitors on my belly to watch the babies' heart rates and keep track of my contractions. I could see every time I felt one come on the "toco" numbers on the screen would go up, a little more each time. I tried to remember to take deep breaths and my hubby helped in trying to keep me calm and relaxed. He really was an amazing coach, especially considering we had just looked up tips and techniques the night before. Anytime a contraction would come on he would talk softly, remind me to breathe deep and say things like, "your breathing is a pathway through the pain" and as crazy as it sounds, it really did help. Not that it stopped the pain, but his voice definitely soothed me. As the hours progressed, so did the strength and time between my contractions. Before long the pain became pretty intense and the contractions were two minutes apart. The doctor finally came in and checked me and I fully expected her to say I was still 3cm like last time. Much to my surprised I had moved up a notch and was at 4cm and River was sitting at +1, which means he had moved even lower. The pain was getting pretty unbearable with contractions lasting longer than the rest time between them, which was exhausting. They had given me fentenyl again, but it honestly didn't do much. Once again I was back on IVs of the pain meds and antibiotics. I was once again getting prepped to go down to L & D and feared it would be another 16 hours of having labor stopped and sitting in a room, unable to get up. With the contractions being so strong and me hurting so badly, they decided to give me Stadol- a narcotic to help with the pain. Within a few minutes I was feeling drugged up and loopy as hell. They told me it wasn't going to necessarily take away the pain, but would make the in between time more relaxing. Which is exactly what happened! I would go through the intense pain of a contraction and then in the down time my eyes would roll to the back of my head and I'd feel like I was going to zonk out. It scared the crap out of me! I don't like feeling out of control so when I would start to feel all out of it like I was going to instantly fall asleep, it would freak me out because I was afraid I was going to be unconscious or die. The nurses had left to get transport so it was just my husband and I left in the room for a few minutes and I was really out of it. The room was spinning. When the nurses came back I was telling them how I felt and they said that is exactly how you are supposed to feel on it. I definitely didn't like it. I was so out of it my nurse, who I just had a lengthy conversation with earlier in the evening about how she was going to try IVF in a few days because she couldn't get pregnant, I looked at her and said, "do you have any kids?" She laughed and said no and then I snapped back into reality for a second and realized who I said that to. I apologized and said, "I'm sorry, I remember now." Stadol is some powerful shit!

They quickly wheeled me down to one of the labor rooms and the pain was getting increasingly worse. At this point I didn't care who heard me and what I looked like, it was pretty unbearable. When I got to the room there was one nurse and one anesthesiologist. Neither looked thrilled to be there because it was the night where we set the clocks back so they were working an extra hour in their already exhausting overnight shift. By this time I was death-gripping the handles of my bed with each contraction, which seemed like each one of them was rolling into the next one with barely anytime to recover in between. They had me roll over on my side and told me to lay very still in order for them to put in the epidural. This was not an easy task. But I also have heard stories of them sticking it in the wrong place because the patient was moving too much and I certainly didn't want to make matters worse. So I'd grit my teeth and do my best to bear it, letting them know when a contraction was coming on so they'd hold up a second. At times I thought I was going to tear the bed rails right off. When it got that bad all the breathing techniques pretty much went out the window, although I did try. I might get one deep breath in and out but the pain was excruciating. They started to put in the epidural and it wasn't what I had always imagined. Here I thought it was just a shot they gave you, but apparently it is something they stick in your back and it stays there. So in between contractions they were trying to insert this needle in my spine and find the "empty space" where it is supposed to go, which was no picnic. She kept asking what I was feeling and where I was feeling it, which was really hard to tell with so much going on with my body. She then told me I was going to feel shocks down my legs and sure enough I did. At that point between the agonizing contractions and being poked relentlessly with the needle, when I felt the shocks I just lost my shit and started crying my eyes out. It was just too much. They showed me the little joystick type thing and how I could press the button anytime I needed extra relief, which I could press 3 times in an hour (every 20 minutes). Relief finally came and I was able to relax for the first time in many hours. 

When a doctor came down to check me a little while later, I was already 6cm. That really surprised me because I thought for sure I'd be stuck at 4cm. But, much to my chagrin the doctor said the plan was still to keep the babies in as long as possible. While I of course wanted whatever was best for the twins, I was also feeling a sense of "what are you crazy??" I mean, River was practically falling out if me! About an hour or so later my high risk doctor came in and said actually at this point because Riv was so low and my water was broken, it was more of a risk to keep him in because of potential infection. So... This was it. The babies were, without a doubt, going to be born by the end of the day. I was at once relieved, nervous, worried, excited... definitely an interesting mix of feelings. It was earlier than I ever anticipated but after all I had been through this week, I was ready. Delivery didn't even scare me because I figured at this rate if I sneezed he would fall out. 

The next step was to give me pitocin to speed up the contractions, which had slowed down with the epidural. Over the next few hours the medicine said exactly what it was supposed to, bring on the contractions and it did so with a vengeance. This time my parents were in there for them and as silly as it seems I felt bad they had to see me in so much pain. I was afraid to hit the epidural button because I thought it might slow things down again, and as delivery was definitely in the forecast I didn't want to delay things any longer. But after a while the pain became yet again torturous and the nurse told me the epidural wouldn't stop the contractions because of the pitocin. So I caved and pushed the button every 20 minutes. However, after a while the epidural wasn't really doing all that much. My contractions were now only 50 seconds apart and lasting 1-2 minutes, so the pain was longer than the down time. An anesthesiologist came in and asked if I'd like something to take the edge off. I agreed as long as it didn't make me stop feeling things or my contractions to completely stop. She told me no and it was on. Only I was totally misinformed! I reached down and felt some weird mushy thing I couldn't identify.... It was my freaking leg! I couldn't feel a thing in the whole lower half of my body! What the hell, lady, that was specifically what I didn't want! Well that numbness was creeping up my body and I started feeling lightheaded and nauseous. In a matter of minutes my blood pressure crashed extremely low and the nurses came flying in. They had to give me a shot of ephedrine to get my heart rate back up and zofran to take away the nausea. Could I BE on any more drugs?? Jeez! After about a half hour the meds wore off and I could feel my extremities again. 

When the doctor came in to check me I thought for sure I'd still be stuck at 6cm. But I was wrong, I had moved up to 7cm and River had moved down to +2 which was one step away from being out of me. However, the doctor still said he'd be back to check in a couple more hours. Ugh... The contractions continued seemingly forever and the hardest part was them not letting me eat ANYTHING all day. The last time I had eaten was 20 hours prior and I was starving. Their reasoning was in case I needed a c-section, but my high-risk dr told me there was only a 10% chance of that. Made more sense to me to give me at least a little bit of nourishment (other than an IV of sugar water) to keep my strength up for delivery. 

Finally, the doctor came back to check again and I had my fingers crossed I had dilated more but didn't get my hopes up. Amazingly enough, I was at 9cm! Only one tiny part of my cervix was covering his head. The doc said once that opened it wouldn't be long before the baby came out since I had been in labor so much throughout the week so he decided to move me to the operating room. This was it. Show time. I looked at my husband and our eyes met. He gave me a half grin along with a quick nod and had a look in his eyes that conveyed confidence that I could do this. I returned the half grin and nod to relay back to him that I agreed, I could definitely do this. My husband has a way of giving me strength just by all his support and love. So I was ready. I wasn't afraid. Only concerned that the babies would be okay. 

My parents kissed me and wished me the best and I was wheeled into the OR, with my hubby beside me dressed head to toe in a yellow paper hospital gown, booties and a face mask. This was it. Memories were about to be made that would be permanently etched in our minds and hearts forever. The biggest event of our lives. 

When we arrived in the room there were about 20 people scattered about. They looked at me briefly and then went back to carrying on their conversations. I would have thought they'd talk to me, but I also heard the L & D nurses weren't all that great with bedside manner. The anesthesiologist came in and started getting me ready for delivery. She promised she wouldn't give me as much as earlier, but would make it so I was as comfortable as possible. Soon I was back to feeling pretty numb, but I could still move my legs and lift my body. The nurses scooped me up and moved me to a flat bed in the center of the room. Just then a doctor walked in and I got a little worried because it wasn't the one that had been checking me all day. While I only met that doctor earlier, it was still better than having some random stranger pop in during the 11th hour. Luckily the other doctor came in just in the knick of time. I noticed for the first time he had a pin attached to his name badge that said, "keep calm and trust the doctor." So I did. 

For a second I got nervous because I wasn't feeling the contractions anymore. The doctor asked if I was and I thought maybe if I said I wasn't it would delay things more. I was so thirsty because they wouldn't let me even have water, I had cotton mouth so bad. I just wanted to get this over with so I could have some water! Just then, the doctor told me they were watching the monitors to see when I was contracting and they would tell me to push. Here we go. They had me put both hands under my legs and pull back, so I had to let go of my hubby's hand who was sitting back near my head. At that point I was on autopilot and was just doing whatever they told me. There I was, completely spread eagle and holding my legs, with at least 6 people around my bottom half. I'm pretty sure by that point I was pretty sure the entire hospital had seen my junk. A nurse called out that a contraction was coming and the doctor told me to push as hard as I could. I took a deep breath and did just that. I had let some air out in doing so and they told me to hold all my breath in next time. So I did. The way my husband describes it, I had a look of sheer determination as my face and arms turned deep red with each push. As I pushed the nurses all counted to ten. I'd push three times and then they'd have me break. I had no problems pushing and didn't even rest between. I had a job to do and wasn't going to rest until it was done. The second set of three pushes they were all telling me I was doing good. I had no idea what that technically meant but I'll take it. By the last push of that round they told me River's head was out. That was a bit nerve-wracking because I was afraid he'd choke or something! So I knew this next round I had to give it my all. Before I could think about it the next round was here. I pushed with all my might and they were coaching me to keep going. And by the last push in that round, I let out a grunt and he was out. My husband and I both asked if he was ok because we didn't hear anything, but then suddenly we heard the tiniest squeaks and we both immediately started crying. It was the most amazing, special experience I think we have ever, and will ever go through and are eternally a million times closer because we shared it. They brought River over to be weighed and asked daddy if he wanted to take pictures. He jumped up and followed and I heard him say, "I love you so much, River,  and my heart melted. But it was back to business.

The doctors said Riley's head had shifted downward and was in position to be born. I was more ready than ever and relieved she cooperated. Within an instant the look on my doctors face changed and I could see a grimace in his eyes behind his mask. They were pushing on my belly like crazy and kept checking with an ultrasound. My doctor said to the other one, "what do you feel" and he said "Feet. Two feet, that's all I got. It's not gonna work." My heart sank as he said the words I feared most. "We're going to have to do an emergency C-section." Riley had flipped around and was breech. I instantly started crying and asked if they could keep trying. They said they tried but with her turned all the way around there was no way to flip her in time, as my cervix was closing. It was already at 6cm. I was sobbing uncontrollably as they told me if we tried to get her out vaginally she wouldn't make it. I looked up at my husband with terror in my eyes and he said, "you can do this baby. It will be okay." What choice did I have? He then said softly, "you are saving her life." And I continued to sob as they quickly prepped me for surgery.

It's one thing when you are undergoing any other surgery where they knock you out and get things ready. But this was different. I had already seen the Dexter-like table of sharp instruments and I knew what they were about to do to me. The thought of being conscious while they cut me open and pulled out my insides terrified me more than I've ever been. I begged them to knock me out but they couldn't. The anesthesiologists were super sweet and trying to calm me down along with my husband. Through the fear I felt embarrassed that I had just gone from being brave and strong to a hysterical mess in a matter of minutes. I thought they would let me know they were starting but in the midst of the chaos I started to feel tugging and pulling, which made me panic even more. They had numbed me up completely, but I could still feel them working on me, just no pain. But I did feel warmth and they told me it was water. (Which G later told me it was blood but the doctor probably didn't want to freak me out more). The whole time I was incoherently babbling for them to please stop over and over again saying "I don't want to die." Before long I remember them telling me to listen for a minute and I could hear the faint squeaks coming from Riley. She was out. After that I checked out. I wasn't unconscious but I think once she was out they maxed out my drugs. 

The next thing I remember is laying there with my eyes open and coming into focus. For some crazy reason I had been in a half-dream state and was visualizing the end of Grease where they were racing. Lord knows where the hell that came from. I had already missed 3 full nights of sleep all week, with no naps to even attempt to catch up, and in that time had 40 hours of painful, exhausting labor along with a smorgasbord of drugs and a traumatic ending to it all. I was physically, mentally and emotionally done. As my eyes came into focus I could see the blue curtain in front of me and my brain was trying to figure out what it was. At first I thought it was some kind of water and I was floating. I even wondered if I had died. In a few moments I recognized that it was the curtain and I was still in surgery. I looked to my left and my husband was gone (he went up to the NICU with the babies), and most of the people who had been there during delivery were gone as well. I still felt tugging and realized they were sewing me up. Whoever was doing, they were chit-chatting about shopping  just as casual as could be. It took a minute and a lot of focus, but I got some words out. "Are the babies okay? Am I okay?" I got a one word answer, "yes," and that was it. I felt so alone. I asked if they made sure to save one of the placentas (to get the encapsulation done as planned) and they said there was only one. I was confused. "No... There was two." They said the placentas had somehow fused together. What?? I had never heard of that with fraternal twins. Maybe this was why Riley had started not growing as quickly as River. I was baffled as to how with all the ultrasounds no one saw this. And what did it mean??
The tears began rolling down my face and the dark thoughts rolled in. I felt like I was scarred for life from the experience and I would never be the same. Like I lost a part of me in that room. It was not a good feeling. 

They wrapped up and brought me out to meet my husband in a recovery room. I couldn't look at him and the tears were still flowing. As soon as the nurse left I immediately started spilling all my dark thoughts. I felt like something was wrong with the babies. That I lost my soul in the delivery room. That I had PTSD and needed help. It was bad. My husband stepped out and I heard him talking to the nurse about having someone talk to me about postpartum depression. He wanted to get me any help I needed. It was in that moment I started snapping out of it. It's not like me to be so doom and gloom. I'm tough. A fighter. When adversity comes, I kick it right in the ass. When I'm told I can't do something, I make sure I do it tenfold. I think it was going into a traumatic experience all drugged up. When I came out of it, still dosed up I was in a bad place. But as the drugs wore off I came to my senses and talked myself out of the black hole I had fallen into. Before long, I had shaken off all the negativity and was able to think clearly again. 

After an hour I was brought up to the NICU with my husband to see the babies. It was pretty shocking. We both started crying when we saw them. They were alarmingly small (River was 2 lbs 11 oz and Riley was 2 lbs 2 oz). So frail and fragile with wires and bandages and IVs all over them. It was frightening. I know we were both terrified they wouldn't make it.

After a few minutes they brought me to my room (a new one on a different floor) and helped into bed. The pain hadn't hit me yet, but I also still had my epidural button I could press every 20 minutes. And as time passed and the numbness wore off, I certainly needed it. My parents were still there and it was the first time I had seen them since before delivery. They stayed a while and then headed back to stay at my house. They really were great this whole week coming out at the butt-crack of dawn multiple times when I was in labor and keeping me company while the Hubs was working. I am lucky enough to have a great support system.

Having been up almost 24 hours, we were exhausted. Before going to sleep my husband came over and knelt at my bedside. He stroked my hair and told me how much he loved me. With tears in his eyes he got all choked up and thanked me for going through all I had to bring our babies into this world. It was a precious moment I will treasure for all time. I told him that even if the doctors would have said from the start that Riley was going to be born via C-section I still would have opted to go through all I had to have River vaginally. In a way I felt it was a right of passage. Birthing him was so beautiful and was truly the most special experience between my husband and I, one I wouldn't trade for the world. And while the trauma of the emergency C-section to get Riley was terrible, I feel lucky I at least had the chance to have one of them in a peaceful way. 

So... I'm a Mommy now. Way sooner than I ever imagined. I was 28.6 weeks. Skipped all but two weeks of my third trimester. When I had said I hoped to be out before my birthday (Nov. 11) I didn't mean at the expense of my babies. While I was going stir crazy and afraid I'd be stuck in the hospital for weeks on end, I would have done anything to keep the growing in me. So that they'd be big and healthy and we could take them home right after. I had been so healthy throughout my pregnancy with so much energy, I never saw this coming. But they are here now and if they are anything like mommy and daddy they will be fighters. And oh boy, they are Scorpios just like Mommy! Poor Daddy! LOL. From what we are told they are in good health, they just need to grow. But that means they'll be in the NICU for at least two months. Which means that will be my life for the next two months, and I'm okay with that. Already my mommy instincts have kicked in and I'm ready to do anything it takes to get them home safely. Our wish is that they are home for Christmas or at least New Years. But it's a waiting game. And wait is what we will do. Anything for those babies. Our family...

    Last belly shot. 28 1/2 weeks

 Hubby kissing my belly goodbye       before going into delivery 

    Heading off to deliver the twins

    Hubby ready to become a Daddy

    Minutes before delivery 

    River Atley

    Riley Jeanne