Monday, December 31, 2007

yummy, yummy

Both babies are now feeding on breast milk through a feeding tube. They cannot taste the milk yet, but once they realize their bellies are full, they calm down a lot.  It's so cute to watch. We have noticed a huge change in both of them since they started their feedings.

Owen - who was born at 2 lbs. 7 oz - now weighs a whopping 3 lbs! And little Ellie Mak, who was a teeny-tiny 2lbs., 2oz. at birth, is quickly catching up to her brother.  She now weighs 2lbs., 7 oz. How cool is that?

Friday, December 28, 2007

the hardest weeks . . .

Mike and I knew that the first two weeks would be the most difficult - emotionally for us, and physically for Owen and Ellie.

Owen - which means "young fighter" - was named because of his constant activity in utero. On the majority of my ultrasounds, Owen could be seen kicking his little sister.  Now that he has made his appearance into the world, he has proven once again that he is a fighter. Owen was ready to be born at 27 weeks.  Arms flailing, he cried immediately - a good sign, we were told by the doctors.  When babies are born prematurely, one of the biggest problems is the viability of their lungs.  Owen never had any major complications.  When he arrived in the NICU, he was placed on a C-PAP, an apparatus used to hold the lungs open to make it easier to breathe.  He needed no other intervention and has quickly weaned himself away from the C-PAP to a nasal cannula - a total miracle.

Eliot - named after T.S. - also cried immediately after birth, but was less psyched about her early introduction to the world.  It took the medical team a lot more pushing and pulling to get her out (obviously smarter than her brother already).  The first two days, Ellie did great considering she was so small at birth - 2lbs., 2oz.  But on the second night, she took a turn for the worse.  Her right lung looked "ugly," and the doctors decided to collapse it.  They turned her over on her side, pushing all of her air into her healthy lung, and within two days, her bad lung had fully collapsed.  You can't imagine the sight. 

After this successful procedure, the doctors did an x-ray of her brain, believing that the trauma she had endured had given her small, underdeveloped brain a hemmorage - otherwise known as a brain bleed.  We found out that day that she had suffered a small IVH - intraventricular hemmorage - but that the blood would most likely be reabsorbed by the body without causing any problems in her future development.  Two x-rays later, the medical team was no longer worried about Ellie's IVH, and we were ready to move on to the next day . . . and the next test.

Eliot's blood pressure started to become unstable during the end of her second week in the NICU.  She was given a medication to control it, but it didn't work.  Low blood pressure can also be a sign of a PDA - patent ductus arteriosus.  PDA is an opening between two major blood vessels, the aorta and the pulmonary artery.  It is common in premature babies and is supposed to close within two or three days of birth - once the heart adapts to life outside the womb.  Ellie's heart did not.  They treated it with Indocin, and after only one round (they could have done three), it had become so small they didn't think it would affect her at all.  And . . . her low blood pressure was tied to the PDA because after its size was reduced, her blood pressure stabilized.  Score: three for Eliot, zero for preterm catastrophes.

During Ellie's lung collapse, she was put on an oscillator, which breathed for her.  She was also put on a paralytic, a drug to paralyze her so she wouldn't fight the machine that was breathing for her.  She just laid there - completely lifeless.  By the middle of the second week, she was on a C-PAP - a huge graduation from the oscillator.  Mike and I couldn't believe the work this kid had done in the first few days of her life.  And while it was so hard to watch her recover, and then see her get hit with another complication, watching her now - breathing room air on her own and sleeping peacefully - is the greatest gift ever.  Another total miracle.


together again!

When the twins were born, they were unable to find two cribs next to each other (I know they are incubators, but I still call them cribs), so Owen was put in Pod B, and Eliot was put in Pod F.   Mike and I would spend an hour in one, and the next hour in the other - feeling guilty if we spent too much or too little time with one.  We kept wondering if the twins ever missed each other; after all, they did spend over six months together in very close quarters.

We continued to ask the NICU nurses to move Owen (Ellie was always too unstable) so he could be closer to his sister, and we waited patiently for a spot to open up near her.

Tonight, a spot opened near Owen, and we asked if Eliot could be moved.  Since she has been so stable for the past few days, they decided to move her crib next to her brother's. Something in me tells me that they each know the other is there. Since Eliot got moved, both babies have made continuous improvements every day.  What a reunion!

Monday, December 17, 2007

the twins have arrived

Baby boy - Owen Michael - and baby girl - Eliot Makenna - were born at 10:12am and 10:15am on Monday, December 17th.

Friday, November 30, 2007

this is not the pregnancy I ordered

I was having a great twin pregancy - still working as a 7th grade teacher and loving it, eating lots of protein, drinking tons of water, babies growing beautifully, adoring my weight gain, not stressing, not worrying - just enjoying.

And then, I went in for a 20-week ultrasound to have the babies measured, and I found out I was in pre-term labor. What are you talking about? Me? Nooooo. Can't be. I'm doing everything right. It can't be.

Twenty minutes later, I was admitted to the hospital, shot up with Brethine to stop my "every two-minutes" contractions (which I never felt), and hooked up to an IV for fluids. The contractions lessened with the Brethine and fluids. Unfortunately, my cervix had shortened to 2.2cm and was funneling. I asked the nurse about work. "Work? No, no sweetie. You're not going back to work." What? This just can't be.

Since 20 weeks, I have been discharged from the hospital, admitted by the peri, discharged by the ob/gyn, and admitted by the peri yet again. And here I lay . . . 24 weeks in the hospital with a terbutaline pump in my leg, still experiencing 4 - 6 contractions an hour, and a 2.2 cm cervix that refuses to stop funneling.

I'll never dance around with these babies in my belly; I missed Thanksgiving at home and dread missing Christmas; I won't be able to decorate the nursery; and I have 24/7 to sit and think about blood clots, NICU, pre-term delivery, more meds, and all of the things that can still happen between now and then.

This is definitely not the pregnancy I ordered.