A special thanks to Kim for creating a wonderful logo for my new blog! And I finally put the time aside today to put together the other aspects of the blog and write their first entry that chronicles the first 9 days of NICU life. I plan to blog an entry for each day, with updates on their milestones (and any setbacks). Due to the insanity that is NICU life, pumping every 2-3 hours, and continuing to have other responsibilities – it may not be an entry every day. But, I’m hopeful that you’ll visit the new blog and subscribe to follow this next chapter in my life.
It has taken me about a week to revisit my blog – mostly because of the emotional issues I’m suffering from and because of my last entry where I specifically said I was waiting for the “other shoe to drop”. And well, because it did.
Last Thursday, I was lying in bed watching the news and I thought I peed my pants. I literally got out of bed laughing because I couldn’t believe I was doing that kind of stuff already. I took my pants off and noticed it was more than just a dribble – and then I went into the bathroom and I was gushing fluid. I knew right then and there that this wasn’t urine and that my water had broke.
I called down to Chris and told him we had to go to the hospital. He came running upstairs and couldn’t believe his eyes. I was hysterical but he grabbed me my phone so I could call the OB office and they told me to get to the hospital as soon as possible. My husband was literally frozen with fear – he was walking in circles and trying to secure the house and the dogs and I just lost it, grabbed my keys, and got into my car with him chasing behind me. I couldn’t wait one more second and just HAD to get to the hospital. So, yes, I drove myself the 37 miles to South Shore Hospital all while on the phone with my mom, Grandy, and Julie. I made it in 30 minutes. My mom met me there and Chris soon followed. When I pulled into the hospital, I saw what I thought was the valet guy and literally hopped out of my car and handed him my keys. I didn’t care whether he was actually a valet or if I just gave my new car to some random guy in a red coat. I walked as fast as I could with a towel between my legs and made it to the birthing center where my mom was waiting. Note: it was a valet and I still have my car.
They started me on monitors for both babies heartbeats and contractions and they did a test that confirmed it was, in fact, amniotic fluid. I had suffered from preterm premature rupture of membrane (pPROM). The OB came in and did an u/s which did little more than confirm both babies were still breech and she did a physical exam and found that my cervix was still closed. I was apparently contracting, but didn’t feel them at all – I was 3-4 minutes apart when I came in! I was immediately given a steroid shot (the first in a two shot series) and they started me on magnesium sulfate to stop the labor. A neonatologist came in to talk with Chris and I and we were essentially told that at 25w3d gestation, the babies had a 50/50 chance of survival. We were heartbroken. But, the team of doctors (OBs, MFMs, etc…) were going to work as hard as possible to keep me pregnant for as long as they could.
I was then moved to a room in the birthing unit where I was monitored very closely. I was given an u/s Friday morning that confirmed it was Baby Girl’s sac that had broken and it was a full rupture. Her fluid level was considered “low”, but she wasn’t showing any signs of distress. In addition to the magnesium, I was given two antibiotics to ward off infection and because I tested positive for group B strep earlier in my pregnancy. That first night / morning is a blur to me – I wasn’t allow to sit up at all, had to urinate in a bed pan, and was literally left to lie in bed and do nothing. I was given three goals to try and make and they were:
- Goal #1: second steroid shot (Saturday at 1:30am)
- Goal #2: steroid series considered complete (Sunday at 1:30am)
- Goal #3: 26 weeks gestation (Monday)
I was moved to a new room in the birthing unit on Friday and I stayed there until Sunday morning. Again, I was closely monitored and completed the magnesium and steroid series successfully where I stopped contractions and it looked like labor was held at bay for the time being.
Sunday morning I was stable enough that they moved me to the maternity special care unit where I would stay until I delivered the babies. We didn’t know if that would be a few days or a few weeks, but we were hoping for the latter. I was allowed to finally get up, only to use the bathroom, and I could shower for 5 minutes a day. It was a lot of freedom compared to how I was monitored at the birthing unit. So many friends and family visited with me throughout the days I was in the hospital and on Monday night my mom came to watch the Bachelorette with me…the last show I would watch before becoming a mom.
Before my mom left the hospital for the night, at around 10:00pm, the amniotic fluid that was leaking turned pink. The nurse came in and checked the babies and they sounded good and they hooked me up to the TOCO to check for contractions and there was nothing. The nurse spoke with my OB and they said that it can happen where the fluid changes colors and it was considered “normal”. At around 2:30am, I was having these lower abdominal pains – almost like I needed to have a bowel movement. I got up to try and go a few times but nothing happened. I finally called in the nurse and she checked the babies and both sounded good. She put me on the TOCO and it wasn’t registering anything. Then I was getting those lower ab pains more severely and I finally asked her to move the TOCO lower. Well, I was registering large, sustained contractions and so she called my OB once again. The OB came down to my room prior to her next c-section and did a “digital exam” to see if I was dilated and guess what? She looked up at me and said, “I can say I feel two little feet”. I about died. I was approximately 6cm dilated and Baby Girl had essentially kicked her feet through my cervix!
It was then like a scene from a movie – while they were rounding people into my room, I called my husband and we both knew he’d never make it. They made one attempt at an IV in my room and my OB finally said something along the lines of “we don’t have time for this – she’s got to go NOW”. I was then flying through the hallways – I was so scared that I was physically trembling. I went right into the OR and there wasn’t even time to give me a spinal so I was put under general anesthesia and that’s the last I remember before waking up in excruciating pain in recovery.
On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 3:19am I gave birth to two beautiful preemies:
- Colton Christopher weighed 1lb, 13 oz and was 13 inches long
- Keltie Grace weighed 1lb, 9oz and was 13 inches long
That day remains a blur – I keep getting pieces of information from various doctors and people to try and put together their birth story. Colton came out first because he apparently edged himself in front of his sister. Both cried when they were pulled out and Colton’s APGAR scores were 7 and then 8. I don’t have Keltie’s yet.
Both are in the NICU and we’ve had some ups and downs but they remain stable and are doing well for being 26 weekers. Our lives are officially changed and dedicated to these two sweet beings. I was discharged from the hospital on Saturday and that was probably one of the hardest days of my life. Our new “normal” is visiting with them once or twice a day and me pumping every 3 hours – breast milk is considered “medicine” for preemies and it’s the one thing I can provide them that no one else can. My c-section sucked – there’s no other way to put it. I have 20 staples and I still don’t understand why people elect to have this done.
So – that is the story of the other shoe dropping…or well, Keltie deciding to break her sac and then sticking her feet where they don’t belong. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of love I feel for these two peanuts. It actually overwhelms me at some points. They’re absolutely beautiful and are fighting as hard as they can. I’ve learned to appreciate the small things – things that “normal” parents likely take for granted such as seeing their faces for the first time, touching them for the first time, their first poop, their first 1ml of breast milk feeding, overcoming breathing issues, etc… I could sit and stare at them in their isolettes all day. And it’s amazing to see their personalities coming out so soon – she’s a firecracker and feisty and he’s sensitive and content to just rest.
Even though I’ve gained two precious children, I do feel some sense of loss. Loss of my fertility, loss of 12+ weeks of my pregnancy, loss of special moments like a maternity photo shoot (there is only one picture of me pregnant) and my baby shower which was postponed from this past Saturday. But, I have to keep focus on what I’ve gained and continue to be strong for my beautiful peanuts. I will be putting together a new blog to chronicle our NICU experience and our new children’s lives. I plan to update this with PCOS / infertility related entries and thoughts, but it won’t be as frequent. I will post a link to the new blog and would love to have all of you subscribe and follow along. I appreciate all of the love and support you’ve provided throughout my infertility and pregnancy journey.
I’ve always said, “infertility is not over once you get pregnant” – and I can attest that it does not go away and the emotions and jaded thoughts / feelings / experiences likely won’t fade either. Many of you started reading my blog prior to my successful cycle – and I’m sure I lost some readers when this blog took on a change from my intimate struggle with IF to my same-ride-different-rollercoaster experience with pregnancy. For that, I do feel sorry because I never intended for those readers to not be able to relate to me or to not be okay reading about a pregnancy when it’s all they’ve ever wanted and more. The irony of this is that I still struggle with IF every day. Yes, with a big belly and two moving little beings inside of me. I probably should have made a post like this sooner, as the subject and words always pop in my head, but it wasn’t until I found myself crying in the car this weekend while listening to a song that I realized I needed to get it out on paper, errr…screen.
DISCLAIMER: I’ll also preface this with the fact that I don’t think experiencing cancer and IF can or should be compared – different struggles and variables. That being said, “research has shown that the psychological stress experienced by women with infertility is similar to that of women coping with illnesses like cancer, HIV, and chronic pain.”
And with that, here is the song that had me hysterically crying in the car:
Ahhh – I’ve neglected this so much! With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I just couldn’t find the time to squeeze in a proper update. My apologies – hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and a great start to your new year!
Let’s get acquainted, shall we?
Results from Heart Monitoring
Due to the holidays, I had to track down the results of all my heart monitoring and of course my PCP was out, so it was a little complicated. But, in the end, all of my labs and the results of the holter monitor came back clear! So, it appears my little ticker is just working extra hard with the increased blood volume with the pregnancy. I was very relieved to hear the good news – one less thing to worry about!
Well, the Wrestlemania belt was returned about 4 days after wearing it and not noticing much of a difference. I wish the solution was as simple as wearing some ridiculous belt but, alas, that is not the case for me. The pain is complex as it’s my upper back due to the large boobs that have somehow grown even BIGGER and it’s my lower back / sciatic [pain because of the nice sized belly I've acquired. I've found that if I sit all day with my feet up, it lessens the pain but that's pretty unrealistic to do all the time. If I don't do this, I end up hobbling around by the end of the day. It's no fun and my biggest complaint so far. I have an OB appointment in less than a week so I'm going to see what is the next solution after the belt failure. For now, I'm just trying to muscle through it - but it's tough...
Holy hell - it's non-stop. I sleep with a bottle of Tums beside the bed and there is a roll in my purse at all times. Considering all my organs are squished up, it doesn't surprise me but it's KILLER. It doesn't help that all I crave is spicy food...
22 Week MFM Ultrasound
The fun stuff!! I had my 22 week u/s with the MFM on 12/27 and everything looked amazing!! As soon as the tech put the probe on my belly we saw a penis! Again, my little boy clearly is not shy and is obviously a boy! She then went and found Baby A and although stubborn as usual, she was not being coy and she is absolutely a she! We saw the labia and no penis! That was about all she cooperated with as we couldn't get a good profile picture...we did get one of her cute little feet, though! And when they did the internal u/s to check my cervix length, all you could see was her kicking down there - brat! He was being good - we got a great profile picture and the tech turned on the 3D and we got to see him!!! I'll admit, it's a bit creepy and awesome all at the same time!
Both babies measured great - he's 1lb, 2oz and she's 15.9oz, which puts them right about at the 50th percentile. They had good fluid levels, solid heartbeats, and my bleed has officially absorbed!! YAHOOOO!!! I go back in 4 weeks and we'll tour the maternity ward and NICU then. I was so overwhelmed with joy that they looked so awesome! My mom came with me to the u/s and she loved every minute of it - it truly is so special to see them.
I asked my MFM about travel and he said I am good to go through the end of January. I'm unsure if I'll go out to Chicago for work or not, but that to me showed that I'm in really good shape and the babies are looking really excellent. I also asked him about not feeling a whole lot of movement and he was very candid in saying that it's completely normal and that women feel it differently and at different times and it's all relative to the baby's size, position, etc... I've been feeling it a little bit more often now, but it was good to hear as I thought I should be feeling it a lot more. I go back to the MFM in 4 weeks.
And finally, I'll end with some awesome pictures of the peanuts!
His gorgeous button nose is just the cutest thing I’ve EVER seen!
I went to my 20 week OB appointment on Monday and everything was good – still two babies with good heartbeats, etc… I mentioned to her about my back pain and now I have this ridiculous Wrestlemania like pregnancy support belt to try and see if that works. It lifts the weight off the nerves in your lower back. The prenatal massage I had on Sunday helped my upper back / shoulders, but the sciatic pain is still there.
I also mentioned to her that within the last few weeks I’ve been noticing my heart racing / beating hard / palipatating while at rest / etc… So, she wanted me to call my PCP and see if they could fit me for a holter monitor or refer me to a cardiologist who could. Apparently it’s common to have a heart murmur develop when pregnant – due to the 50% increased blood flow, it makes what may have been the slightest murmur that otherwise wouldn’t have been detected show up.
Luckily, my PCP could do everything there – so I took the hour drive yesterday and she listened to my heart and heard a very slight murmur, but didn’t think that would be the cause of my symptoms. They hooked me up to an EKG and the EKG was normal except it showed my heart is working harder than normal – which, again, could be the pregnancy or something else. So, next was to get hooked up to this holter monitor – it hooked onto my pants and had about 5 electrobes on my chest area. It recorded all of my heart activity. It sucked to sleep in (and carry around) but it was only for 24 hours. She also did some bloodwork as being anemic, dehydrated, or elevated sugars can cause similar symptoms. I was to drop the holter off today or tomorrow (will be tomorrow as work is just crazy and I’ve been at the doctors most of this week) and they will download the results, review it with the other stuff and my lab results, and we’ll know if there is anything to be concerned with or not. I’m oddly not too worried – shocking, I know… But it’s important to know if anything is going on.
I told my friend last night that I was going to write a book called Pregnancy: The Shit No One Tells You That Could Happen. I’m convinced no one tells you as then no one would want to get pregnant! But seriously, I feel like I could collaborate with other moms like the All Knowing Julie and we could write both an informative and humorous book about the random crap that can happen when you’re pregnant – more than just morning sickness and weight gain. Maybe it could help others stop with Dr. Google, too.
I did go to an outlet mall last night and got myself a pretty Coach diaper bag – I think both the Peanuts and I deserve it! It is regularly $400.00 and I got it on sale for $125.00. It’s the one thing I wanted for myself so I’m psyched! They actually had a lot of different ones at the outlet which I was surprised as some don’t carry them at all. I got one I thought my loving husband would look okay carrying, too
LOTS of stuf happening this week! 19 weeks is the official halfway point to full-term twin gestation. Yes folks, we’ve officially made it halfway! For that, I think I deserve a medal – but I’ll wait for the true gift that comes at the finish line. Here are some things that have occurred during this 19th week -
Okay, so registering should be fun and exciting right? Not so much. You see, I’m pretty freakin’ good at registering for wine glasses (and knowing just what to do with them) and home decor but registering for baby stuff was WAY beyond me. Me and the husband ventured out this past weekend and went to three stores. The first was Buy Buy Baby since they had the bedding that I wanted – except they didn’t. It was one they didn’t carry on hand but have it on the website only. Wonderful. But we poked around and then headed out to the Baby Furniture Warehouse to look for another crib (World’s Greatest Cousin is giving me her crib so we only need to buy one!) since the All Knowing Julie got hers there and they are really nice. This place kind of skeeved me and the husband out a bit – and everything was seriously between $800-1,000 a piece. All Knowing Julie got a hell of a deal for hers – and we couldn’t find that…nevermind in the color wood we wanted. So we left there rather quickly and headed to the baby shit mecca, also known as Babies R Us. It was at that moment that I wanted to turn right around and walk out and forget this ever happened. I’ve never been so overwhelmed in my life…well, until I got the book they give you to “help” you with your registry. We essentially spent 2 hours walking around the store CLUELESS as to what we were doing. I had some good tips from the All Knowing Julie – but finding a sales associate who could give us more information or help us was like pulling teeth from an alligator. Here are two things that could have helped this experience: 1 – have people on hand (or as Julie suggested – hire moms to help) to provide guidance and literally walk around with you and 2 – offer snacks. We were there for so long and I was getting so run down and cranky a.k.a. I needed something to eat – they should give us preggos some trail mix or something while we’re there! Anyway, we headed home where I proceeded to spend - no joke – 6 more hours over the course of that night and the next day tweaking the registry to a point where I think we’re finally there. Holy crap. It was one of the few times during this pregnancy that I really wished I could have had a nice stiff drink…speaking of stiff drinks…
I turned 31 on Monday!
This was an interesting birthday – it was one of the few times that I wasn’t waking up in a warm, tropical location on my birthday and I didn’t have the option to enjoy a nice, fruity umbrella drink at lunch, dinner, and in between. I must admit – I’m spoiled. In the 8 birthdays I’ve spent with my husband, I’ve been away for more than half of them. Disney, Naples FL, Key West FL (x2), and St. Croix… So, waking up fighting for space between my husband and two dachshunds in my bed was quite the wake-up call. And then…AND THEN I had to work! Gross – working on your birthday is ZERO fun…I can promise that. But, I did get some wonderful presents and had a very nice evening with the hubby at one of our favorite restaurants, Solstice. And, although it was the first birthday in well over 10 years (sorry, Mom…underage drinking admission!) that I didn’t have an adult beverage – I can truly say it was worth it and WILL be worth it in a few months. I did, however, explain to the husband that he best be working on next year’s birthday travel plans – including a place for the peanuts to stay for a few days. I mean, it’s only fair right? Speaking of babies…
I felt Baby Boy move!
It was seriously the COOLEST experience ever! Last night while eating some buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese, I felt this rolling sensation in my lower right side and I just KNEW it was Baby Boy doing some flips! It seriously felt like something rolling around in there – I got this huge smile on my face and proceeded to exclaim “OMG OMG OMG” to Chris and I finally got the words out that I had felt him move and he immediately put his hand there. I felt so bad telling him it will probably be a while until he can feel it from the outside, but it was the best thing I’ve ever felt! I am hoping I’ll start to feel movement more often as it was just amazing – and everyone says that is one of the best parts about being pregnant. Remind me of this when they’re kicking me in the ribs and bladder, mmmkay?
Other than that, we’ve been preparing the house for our additions. Chris has been working like crazy cleaning out the basement (it’s amazing how much STUFF two people acquire over the course of living in one place for 7 years!) and cleaning out some closets. I cleaned out our bedroom closet so he can eventually “move in” since his clothes are in the upstairs guest bedroom which will be the nursery. It was kind of funny piling all my winter pre-pregnancy-sorry-you-can’t-wear-these-nice-things-this-year clothes up and looking in a barren closet at just the few things I *can* wear this year. But, I do have to admit, pregnancy leggings are pretty much the best things ever. I’m going to order me a few more pairs of those! And – the kicker? The husband thinks they’re “sexy”. Oh yes – I’ve worn them twice with tunics and he told me both times how “sexy” I looked. Who would have thought?
20 week OB appointment on Monday – let’s hope everything still looks and sounds hunky dory!
Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
I got a call from my OB the day before Thanksgiving and she had my Factor V Leiden and other blood clotting test results and – I tested NEGATIVE!!! Holy shit, for the first time I actually DON’T have something!!! I was so thrilled – it was like the huge victory (even though it was very, very minor).
But let’s get to the good stuff shall we?
My husband was finishing up his training at his new airline and wasn’t due to fly in until late last night. I had my anatomy scan u/s appointment yesterday and couldn’t change it, so I decided I’d have them keep everything a secret and we’d find out together when he got home. The u/s went very well! Here’s a quick run down:
- Both babies looked AWESOME!
- All vital organs and structures looked great.
- HBs were in the 140s and she turned the sound on so I could hear it – love that sound!
- Both have good amniotic fluid levels
- Placenta positions are excellent, no sign of previa
- They saw the infamous bleed, so it hasn’t gone away (but I’m still not bleeding since 17 weeks)
- They are 80% sure on Baby A’s gender / 100% sure on Baby B’s gender
- Baby A is breech and was facing my back / Baby B was head down and facing my front
- My genetic testing came back with a 1:10,000 odds, so I think we’re good there!
- They estimate each to weigh 0.5 lbs!
There was only one “issue” that is likely a non-issue. Baby B’s umbilical cord is a 2 valve (2V) vs. the normal 3 valve (3V). This means that in the normal umbilical cord, there are two arteries and one vein. So Baby B has one artery and one vein. They will be watching to make sure he / she continues to grow at the same rate as Baby A. I met the MFM and she was great and said they see this a lot and it should be a non-issue, but something to monitor. I go back for my next u/s in 4 weeks!
I then figured since this is likely the ONLY and LAST time we’ll experience something like this, I should do something fun or special. I ended up taking the secret envelope to a bakery and had them open it and fill two cupcakes with either pink or blue frosting (so I couldn’t tell). Of course his flight was delayed, so he didn’t get in until 1:30am, but we ran right over and dove right into the cupcakes! Here is what we found:
It was such an awesome experience – we were up until 3:00am just beaming with delight. I have new u/s pics I’ll post this week as well!