Thank you so much to my husband for being the guest blogger to let everyone know that the babies have arrived! He claims that those posts had the most comments because of his superior blogging skills, but I pointed out it could've been the news he shared: our sons are here, and they are doing marvelously!
The short version of how our boys came a few days before their "scheduled" day is that I had gone to see Dr. P for my last ultrasound and was miserable. I had woken up that day in so much pain, and had not slept in a week. The contractions were harder to control at home and I just felt off. Thank goodness my husband decided to drive me to this appointment. When Dr. P saw me she said, "Something is different!" I told her how I'd been feeling, and the boys took a while to pass their BPP's so I was worried about them. She found that I was starting to have protein in my urine and sent me over to triage for an NST.
The contractions showed up right away, and I took a hefty dose of Nifedipine after Terbutaline. They slowed for about 10 minutes and picked right back up, stronger than ever. My body was in real labor that did not want to stop, and Dr. P felt there was no need to put us all through even heavier meds, monitoring and possibly an emergency C-section, so we decided that since I hadn't eaten much, she would deliver them that night. While I was "prepped" I had regular and painful contractions and was surprised to have to recall my labor breathing from our daughter's birth. We were thrilled! And terrified!
A mad dash ensued to find a way for my mom to attend the birth while our dear friend and my brother cared for our three year old daughter. My mom arrived with many bags of things I spouted off between contractions and we all prepared to meet our sons. I looked at my husband and asked if he remembered the feeling of falling completely in love when we'd met our daughter. He said, "Of course! And we get to do it again ... " I wished I had kissed our daughter before I left the house, held her tighter for a minute because I did not know it was the last time I would see her as my only child.
All the preparations were in place and I walked into the operating room, was numbed and in seconds, it seemed, Baby A was out and screaming. I heard myself say, "OH! You are here!" and cried while his brothers emerged shortly after. I watched them all be examined, and have wonderful reports shouted from the NICU nurses and Dr. C, the neonatologist. He kept saying, "They are so healthy and beautiful!" and they all hit the four pound mark. They were taken to NICU with my husband and I was wheeled to recovery with my mom, and we stopped to see our beautiful boys being checked out further. Someone told me they all got APGARs of 9/10, and needed no help breathing. I was put into my room and after a couple of hours of begging to be let up, off my IV's and meds, they let me be wheeled in to see our little men.
They were in radiant warmers, not isolettes yet, and I was able to touch each of them, smell their intoxicating baby smell and tell them how long we'd been waiting to meet them. I started getting pretty sick from the Morphine and had to go back to my room for the night. I pumped three times that night and had the nurses deliver the colostrum to the babies even though their feeds did not start until the second day. I was very proud of having something for them already. My husband stayed mainly with our sons and my mom was in and out before she went home to see our daughter, the big sister to three.
The next day they were put into their isolettes, received IV nutrition and monitored closely. No one has needed any help or interventions- no episodes of apnea or bradycardia, no need for medications or extra tests. After that they moved to feedings through their NG tubes, and the next day from the breast! They all practiced nursing while a nurse would squirt their bit of colostrum into the corner of their mouths. Now they all are able to take a bottle or nurse a bit, though we still put their feeds down their tubes to help conserve energy. Breastfeeding uses more calories and energy than bottle feeding or getting a feed through their NG tube (a tube that runs into their tummies) so we are only allowed three feeds a day at the breast right now. It is more than I had hoped for and I am thrilled to nurse them and say they are only getting breast milk. I have been pumping about every 3 hours and am producing 30+ ounces of milk a day for them. WOO HOO!
They are currently under phototherapy lights for jaundice but their levels are down already and they'll be out tomorrow. When they are under the lights, the time they spend "out" being held or nursed is strictly limited, so no extended cuddling sessions, which we hate. We cannot wait to have them be able to look around again, without their masks (protect their eyes from the lights) and able to be kangarooed for long stretches. Their IV's should come out tomorrow also since they take all their feeds orally or through their tubes. Next steps: maintain their temperatures and get into an open crib together and take all feeds orally.
We know everyone wants to hear when they'll be home. The answer: we wish we knew! They will most likely come home in about 2 weeks or so, but it could be sooner. It could be together or staggered, they might have something come up that delays them, or they could jump ahead. We just do not know, and that is the hardest part.
The recovery from the C-section is no fun at all, but I am amazed at how much better I feel each day. I was eager to get up and walking, and managed to get myself discharged early so I could be with the babies more. The nurses could never find me since I was always in the NICU anyway, so they had the doctor discharge me. The biggest hurdles are the lack of abdominal strength and just being swollen and tired. The incision does not hurt much at all.
The side effect of producing lots of breast milk for my sons is engorgement, sore nipples and general breast pain. I kind of look like Dolly Parton, with the added ability of shooting milk across a room. I am so lucky to have a good supply, but I am sort of chained to my pumps (one at home and one in the boys' room) and it is not nearly as appealing as snuggling a little baby.
My schedule is tough, but do-able and SO worth the exhaustion. I cannot wait to see them each day but miss their sister so very much when I am away. My husband and mom spend so much time with our daughter and are both very present in the boys' care. I can't stress this enough: without "Gramma", we could not do this well!
6 am: Pump and shower
7:15 am: Leave for the hospital
8 am: Nurse the boys, snuggle for a minute, help do their "cares"
9:30 am: Pump, pack up to go home
10:30 am: Hang out at home with A
12: 30 pm: Pump, eat lunch
1:15 pm: Leave for the hospital
2 pm: Nurse the boys, snuggle for a minute, help do their "cares"
3:30 pm: Pump, pack up to go home
4:30 pm: Do something with A, help at home
6:30 pm: Pump
7:15 pm: Leave for the hospital
8 pm: Nurse the boys, snuggle for a minute, help do their "cares"
9: 30 pm: Pump and go home for the night. Discuss the plan for the evening with the nurses before leaving.
11:00: Go to bed
12:30 am: Pump
3:30 am: Pump
6:00 am: Start again!
(I may need to print this so I know where I am supposed to be!)
And now ... I must go sleep a bit. I will leave you with this cutie pie picture of our little guy getting phototherapy. I cannot wait until their masks come off and we can see their gorgeous eyes again! I will try to update more frequently, and I am sure when I buy a hands-free pumping bra that I will have much more time with my lap top. I cannot wait to share about each of their personalities and the sweet things they do as well as how AMAZINGLY their big sister is doing. (She told us she'd like an isolette from Santa for her baby dolls for Christmas.) I could also write a ten page post on the range of emotions I am feeling right now, from downright euphoria to hysteria and anxiety. Ahh, the postpartum period.
Thank you for all of the congratulations and well wishes. We are so very, very blessed and we know it. Falling in love with three precious boys is just as amazing as it sounds.