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:

   River


    Riley

    Mommy's favorite thing to do...

    Daddy's too!

    Awwww


    River grabs everything!

Our little princess