Saturday, February 11, 2012

Meet Felix and Evelyn!

When I was 24 weeks (out of 40) into my pregnancy with my twins, I went to my usual check-up and all looked good. I was the size of the average single-baby-carrying-and-32-weeks-pregnant woman (read: I was going to be huge by the end). Everything checked out well, nothing alarming or even flagging that there could be a problem. We had had out ultrasound a couple weeks before, finding we were to have a boy and a girl-- so exciting!

The day after my check-up, I had some heavy bleeding around supper time. I called in and they said to come in so we could check on it. They couldn't figure it out and noticed I started having contractions, so they gave me some anti-contraction meds and admitted me for the night. I wasn't allowed to lay on my side or move from being flat on my back, because they needed to keep the monitors on me. Finally, around midnight, they seemed to think things were under control and changed me over to being on the monitors for half an hour every 4 hours- this meant that I could sleep until 4am, which I gladly did. I felt like everyone was completely overreacting and that I would be so embarrassed about having come in and caused all this trouble come morning.

4am came too quickly and I got up to go to the bathroom before being trapped in the bed with the monitors strapped on me. I got about 3 steps from my bed and liquid gushed everywhere. And I mean everywhere. My first thought wasn't the "Oh my gosh, my water broke!!" you'd expect. It was "I am so glad this happened here- I don't have to clean it up!" Then I freaked out. I tried to tell myself I just peed all over myself. We couldn't test the fluid for a while because of there being blood in it (I was still bleeding- that issue was never figured out or resolved). Finally they were able to confirm what we all knew- my water had broken (turned out to be Baby A, our daughter). I was started on several antibiotics, as infection is the most dangerous thing for a baby in the situation of not having their protective bubble around them to keep them safe. I was told that as long as they could hold off labor and everyone stayed healthy, they could keep the babies inside of me until they were big enough to be born. The following several hours were doses of anti-contraction meds, IVs, steroid shots and everything else anyone could think of to save these babies.

Around lunch time, my husband and two year old son came in to visit and the head neonatologist from the NICU came to give us the hard truth. He gave us the statistics for babies born at this gestation and they weren't good. Basically, our kids had low odds of living and even lower odds of not having a major disabilities. Then I was left to cry with my family while the two year old got into everything out of boredom.

I was able to keep those kids in me for two more weeks. I was on magnesium and nearly every night had a shot of brethine to stop the contractions. Our son, with all of his extra space to move in me and the freedom of not being kicked constantly by his sister, started exploring more and he was nearly impossible to find some nights. More than once, nurses were brought to tears of relief when we finally found his heartbeat. After the two weeks on bed rest (which, for the record I loved and I was so busy with hospital stuff and visitors, I didn't even get a nap... or to bed early) I was having contractions in the morning instead of just at night. The doctor decided to keep an eye on it and see if they'd stop on their own. Once they got to be evenly spaced, they tried to step in and stop them, but they wouldn't stop.

At 4am the following morning, on April 29, they preformed an emergency c-section. I puked through the whole thing, didn't get to see them and felt that the c-section was the most wretched feeling thing I had ever experienced. My BP crashed and once they had me under control, I had to go to recovery, instead of my room, to recover. My husband went to the NICU and waited for the news. An hour or two later, a NICU doc came down and told me they were both alive and told me their sizes- Baby A was 2 pounds, 3 oz. Baby B was 1 pound, 15 oz. Alive. That's all I got to know for now, but it was such a relief.

It wasn't until my (still unnamed) babies were 4 or so hours old hat I was able to get out of my bed to go see them. I was pushed to the NICU in a wheelchair, scrubbed in and promptly puked. Back to my bed. 2 hours later, I tried again. This time, I got to glance at both of them and get the summary on Baby B before I puked. I also got to officially name Baby B (Felix). 2 hours later, I was able to see Baby A (and name her Evelyn) and get the summary on her. Both kids were doing well.

I think God must've prepared my heart for the NICU. I never felt freaked out by all of the machines and wires hooked up to my kids. I thought they looked big. I had no expectation to hold them yet, so I wasn't let down when they told me I'd have to wait until their umbilical lines were out. I remember about 3 days in, I was allowed to lift and hold Felix in his isolette while they changed his bedding. I was so excited about holding my baby, I may have cried. And that wasn't even "real" holding, as I'd soon find out.

When they were a week old, Eve was off of her vent and had her PICC line in and I was able to hold her, outside of her isolette, skin to skin. It was so amazing and she was so tiny. She just snuggled into me and slept for the hour she was allowed out. Felix didn't do well with outside stimulation and he was 2 weeks old before I could kangaroo care with him. He struggled a lot in the beginning. He had to go back onto a vent after he came off, he would protest the smallest things- even talking near his bed- by not breathing. We would sit and quietly look at him, only touching him when required for his routine "cares". Slowly, but surely, they grew and developed. Felix struggled with breathing on his own and was on oxygen until the week before coming home. Eve struggled to digest her food and went a week without pooping, and no one knew why, despite all the tests. When she finally pooped on her own, we brought in a cake to celebrate with the nurses.

When they were on and a half months old or so, they were moved to cribs. They lasted less than a day before going back into the isolettes. Two weeks later, we tried again, and this time, they were strong enough. We could hold them at will and, best of all, family could hold them too.

Over the next several weeks, they worked on growing and learning to eat on their own. The eating was the slowest thing to fall into place. They just didn't seem to want to do the work. In the end, we had to withhold feeding by way of tube and let them learn they needed to do the work. Their weight was closely monitored and after 2 days, they were back to gaining an ounce a day. Plans were made for them to come home the next day.

The following morning, we got the call that Felix hadn't gained enough weight and that Eve's gain was also low, but not as severely. They wouldn't be able to come home. They had me come and room-in with Felix that day and the following night to see if having me there would help, or if he was too tired. He did great, as did his sister, so after 101 days in NICU, they came home without monitors, oxygen or any other "extras".

Our time in the hospital was long and hard. They had many struggles. They struggled to breath, keep warm, digest food and eat. Daily, they struggled to live and to perservere and thankfully, they succeeded. Now, they are 21 months old and doing all the things 21-month-olds should be doing. It's a miracle, really and I am so glad I got to witness it.

Intibating at birth
First day in the NICU
Evelyn-7 weeks old

Felix-7 weeks old
Evelyn and Felix-6 months old
Evelyn and Felix-1 year old

No comments:

Post a Comment