SOCIAL MEDIA

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Home Stretch

Pump, nurse, change diapers, check temp, bathroom break, pump, nurse, change diapers, check temp, bathroom break, repeat. This is what my days look like. The only nice thing about the boys still being in the NICU is that I am still able to shower & shave my legs everyday. Josh, this is your public service announcement: leg-shaving will be few & far between when your boys come home. Hell, bathing might take a backseat for a while too. 

We are nearing the 3 week mark with our baby boys in the NICU. They are getting bigger, stronger, more like babies, and less like preemies everyday. Last night, the boys were switched from feedings every 3 hours to on-demand feedings. Whenever they are awake & acting like they are hungry, I'm feeding them. Jax's minimum intake for 12 hours is 143ml, and Jett's is 150ml. Jax took 184ml today, so we talked an awful lot about him going home within the week. I was so happy to get a call from my FAVORITE NICU NURSE, Susan, just a bit ago letting me know that Jett woke up and took one final feeding just under the wire, pushing his total to 149ml. He did it!

Jax is now 5lb 1 oz, Jett is now 5lb 9oz, and Maddie is so freaking tall. She also looks uber creepy in this photo.

As ready as I am for these boys to come home, I totally panicked when they said they could be coming home. I will never sleep or shower again.

A lot of you have looked at me or texted me and asked how I'm actually doing. I'm actually doing good. I'm sick of waking up 3 times a night to pump in the cold living room, but then I think about my two baldy boys, and it doesn't seem so bad. I have the most supportive, precious, PATIENT husband who takes care of Maddie all day, so that I can sit in the NICU with these boys for 6 hours a day. And Maddie. What a trooper! Her life has been topsy turvy for 8+ months, and she has just gone with it. This little girl acts like this is one big adventure. She has spent many nights sleeping on the floor in hospital rooms, staying at her grandparents' house, and spending hours in her car seat, driving all over the map. She is amazing.

Thank you all for the calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages, gift cards, etc. I can't always reply, but I'm reading everything. And YES, I will eventually get all of my thank you cards out - bear with me.

xoxo,
a.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Exhaustion With a Side of Hormones

This last week plus has been a whirlwind. I'm exhausted, hormonal, weepy, punchy, happy, gassy, and in love with my two new littles. I was slightly terrified to have boys because I had no idea what to expect, but man, are they cute and so sweet! As tired as I am, I don't want to stay away from the hospital.

In the last 12 days, the boys have made big strides towards heading home. We had about 9 days where we had minor progress, but we didn't have any regression either. In the last 2 days, we have turned a corner. Jax has been taking his bottles like a champ. He doesn't take every single feeding, but he has a few good ones during each day. Progress! Jett nursed for the first time yesterday & stayed on for about 10 minutes. Today, we tried again & he stayed with it for about 15 minutes. He is slow & steady. He doesn't slam bottles like Jax can, but he slowly ups the amount of milk that he takes from his bottles every few days.

I had no idea how sad I would be to leave my boys each day. The first 2 or 3 days were the hardest. I sobbed & sobbed even thinking about leaving them behind. It's not fun or easy, but I have managed to feel less like a crappy mom each night when I take off for the night. That first night away from them, I let myself heave ugly sobs in the kitchen and let every guilt-ridden thought wash over me. I shouldn't have wished for them to come out so early. I should have listened to my doctor. I shouldn't have been so flippant about being out & about trying to get them to come out. I should be at the hospital more. I should be at more feedings. I should have more milk by now. I should be with my sick daughter. I should be home taking care of my family. I should be at the hospital. I should be awake for more of their feedings. I should be home. The list goes on. Once I had my good, hard, ugly sob, I felt better.

I sat in my bathroom on Monday, pretending to be getting ready, but really having another good cry. I sat on the pot and sent my friend Laura a Facebook message. So classy. I knew I could tell Laura how I was feeling because she had been in the same boat I am now sitting in. Laura had a daughter at home, delivered her son early, and spent weeks at the hospital with her newborn baby boy in the NICU. I typed through streams of tears, begging her to tell me I was semi-normal. She was only too happy to tell me that I was, in fact, normal, and that she felt every hormonal emotion that I was feeling. She, then, offered to come sit with me yesterday. And so, we sat. We rocked babies and chatted, and I felt so much better knowing that I wasn't nuts - I was just a tired mom, sitting in a small room with tiny babies. It's a club, not a club I ever wanted to be a part of, but it's a club that I am now in, and have made other friends along the way who are in the same club. We can all appreciate the tiny milestones that our littles hit because we know how important those milestones are to each of us (I'm looking at you, Christi & Liz).

So, we take the little victories and cheer because, for these tiny ones, they are huge leaps. Each day gets a little better, and, as crappy as it is to think that we have around 3 more weeks of this hospital/home routine we're doing, each day is another day closer to our boys' homecoming.

And yes, I am healing just fine. I have a gnarly scar, but it's pretty cool. I had a lot of pain the first few days, but stopped taking the heavy duty meds pretty quickly. I still have some pain, but it's really minor. I do, unfortunately, have a swing-low-sweet-chariot belly situation going on at this point that I'm not too fond of. I'll have to work on that in my spare time when I'm not taking care of two infants and a toddler.

Keep praying for my little dudes. They are so awesome, and I can't wait for you all to get to know them.

The first time the boys have snuggled each other since they were born!



Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Twinkies' Birth Story: Part 2

Some parts of part 2 need to be filled in by my husband and my mother-in-law. I was a zombie for most of Friday, so even though I was given loads of information, it has been permanently lost in my brain abyss. As soon as I got loopy right before the C-section, information was no longer clicking in up there.


Jax was born at 12:36pm. He was a gray, bloody mess, but he was a doll. As soon as Dr. P lifted him over the curtain, I was crying. I have mentioned before that I am an ugly cry-er, so I'm sure that Maren's pictures will show you the hideous face I made. They whisked Jax to his warming bed and he instantly began to cry, which made me cry more. Josh stepped over to see him, came back to me, touched his forehead to mine and with tears in his eyes, he said, "he's so cute!"


Jett quickly followed as he was yanked from his spot in my rib cage at 12:38pm. Jett was all arms & legs as Dr. P quickly lifted him up for me to see him. Between tears, feeling barfy and the realization that I just gave birth to twins, it didn't dawn on me that I hadn't heard Jett cry yet. I had a limited view, but I knew that there was a barrage of nurses surrounding the boys, furiously working on a cry. He finally cried. Moments later, the boys were whisked out of the OR and were in the NICU in less than a minute. I happened to be lucky to have been in the dark at this point. I was crying, I was threatening to puke on Josh yet again, and I was busy listening to Dr. P quote lines from the movie "Pitch Black" while he removed placentas, and apparently, some organs, according to Josh.

The once-quiet NICU was now abuzz with nurses and doctors working on getting my boys stable, namely Jett. What wasn't mentioned in the OR was that Jett's cord was wrapped around his body a few times. We were unsure of whether or not he was without oxygen or if he was even getting blood flow back in from his cord. I appreciate that no one acted hysterical or alarmed while I lay on that operating table. I was already taking deep breaths to try to keep the vommies at bay, so hearing that would have flipped me out.

***

I have been waiting for this information for a couple of days, and just asked our AMAZING NICU nurse last night about what happened when the boys came out. Jax was taken out & his nurse, Susan, got him under the warmer and on a C-pap immediately. He responded very well. Jett apparently wasn't done being in utero, so things took a while with him. Before Dr. P pulled Jett out, they found that he was facing the wrong way & had to be turned (OW!) and his cord was wrapped around his arms and legs, and he was gripping it, cutting off blood flow to his little body. He was immediately put under the warmer and put on the C-pap, but had to have a little help getting breathing consistently - he didn't need resuscitation, but he needed more stimulation to get motivated to breathe.

Both of the boys were taken to the NICU, shortly thereafter, where Jett was intubated and given surfactant. Surfactant is used to lubricant the lower lungs to help get them moving on their own. Jax was taken off the C-pap after an hour or so, and was given oxygen through a canula. Jett was taken off his C-pap a while later as well. For the first days, both of the boys had to have an OG tube (oral) for their feedings, but then graduated to the NG tubes (nasal). Jax has ripped his out a million times, and was able to take his feedings by bottle for a couple of days, but he tires out quickly and does half and half now. My little Jett is still relying mainly on his NG tube for his feedings, and is back on oxygen at the moment.

Jax & Jett are doing better everyday. The main thing now is learning to eat. Being preemies, one of the last things they develop in utero is the suck, swallow, breathe routine, and they weren't in long enough to learn it. They are now developing that skill. Jax is able to do over half of his feedings with his bottle before his little body tuckers out and he has to finish through his NG tube. Depending on how awake Jett is, sometimes we try a bottle, but more often than not, I let him sleep during his feedings and opt for the NG tube. His little body is working so hard that it's just better to let him sleep, rather than expend too much energy.



And have you ever seen cuter boys?! Omgeeeee! I just stare at them the whole time I am with them, and then stare at pictures when I'm not with them.

Pray for our litter. Maddie has been sick since Saturday, and I haven't been able to see her. Josh & his parents are taking care of her, but, as a result, the 4 of them are unable to come visit the boys. This was not the transition to twindom that I was hoping for. I was really hoping to make this far less painful than it seems to be.

Thanks for the love, prayers, texts, emails, comments, etc. We appreciate it all.

xoxo,
a.
Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers (Andrea's blog has been hijacked)

Hello. It's Josh here. Am I allowed to write on a girls blog if I don't talk about unicorns and decorative pillows? Oh well. I will try to 'girl it up' for consistency with the general tone of the blog.

Well today is Mother's day, and I felt it would be appropriate to hijack Andrea's blog so I could brag about her a little bit. Luckily, her blogger password was stored in our browser!

I've been extremely proud to call her my wife lately. What can't she do? A few years back she lost 90 pounds, which I'm sure was not easy, considering her love for McDonald's. After losing all that weight, she began to rapidly change on the inside as well. Her new-found confidence allowed her to conquer her fears and inhibitions to follow a dream to become a photographer. She didn't just 'kinda' do it... she dedicated herself to become excellent. And she didn't just become great at taking pictures, but she pushed herself to grow her business with intelligent marketing and networking. She carried, delivered, and cared for our daughter Madison. That's not so hard right? There are billions of Mom's. Anyone can do it. But not like her. She is a tremendous mother. And now, she has carried our twin boys for many months. If you're are reading this blog you are likely already familiar with that story.

The hardest part about the whole twin process was probably the emotional struggle. It was difficult for her to decide to be vulnerable again considering the 5 miscarriages we had. They were incredibly difficult to endure emotionally, but as you know, enduring is a specialty of hers. She decided we would try one last time, and now our boys have arrived. It has been a challenge. And a bigger challenge starts now.

Months ago, one person asked me if we planned on having twins... an interesting question. If it were possible to plan to have twins, we most certainly would not have. But we are very excited now that they are here with us, and I know that my super-wife is up to the task.

Thanks for all you have endured for our children and I. We love you. Enjoy holding your tiny baby boys on what is sure to be the best Mother's Day of your life.

I also need to recognize our Mother's as well. If you know Andrea, you know how generous she is. She is likely to shower you with gifts and thoughtful gestures. If you don't know, this comes from my Mother in Law, Susan. You would not believe the number of boxes full of gifts, clothes, and toys she sends. It's a weekly occurrence. Susan lives in California, but it is no obstacle. When we need her, she is on a plane the next day. In fact, she's probably on her way to the airport now. Andrea has always been very generous to me, since we became friends in 9th grade, and I'm thankful to my Mother in Law for raising such a generous daughter, and for being there when we need her... like when bringing home TWINS.

And of course... my Mom. Happy Mother's Day. She has been so selfless over the last few months when we have really relied on her heavily. My mom is a rock. Whatever we need, she'll handle it. Can you get us groceries? Sure. Can you pick up something from the house and bring it all the way to Denver? No problem. Can you make us dinner? Of course. Can you watch Maddie every day for the next week? Sure. It's not that she doesn't have things to do, but they always take a backseat to helping us. Whatever I ask her, I know the answer is always yes. But this is my mom. Her joy comes from making other people happy.

Both Andrea and I are blessed with Mother's who are extremely selfless and caring, and we love them dearly. They shall be rewarded greatly with lots of baby holding opportunities. There are two babies to hold, after all.
Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Twinkies' Birth Story: Part 1

Yesterday, I got up at 7:30am for a routine prenatal check-up. I was tempted to skip the appointment because I was getting super frustrated with being violated checked every few days, only to hear that there had been no change. I had been waking up the past 4 nights with terrible, bearing down contractions that were 2 minutes apart and lasted for about 30 minutes. Because I knew the routine, I waited them out, and eventually, they stopped.

The same thing happened in the wee hours of the morning on Friday. I was suddenly awakened by horrible contractions around 2am, they died down, and then I slept fitfully for the rest of the night. I woke up at 7:30 with contractions that were painful, but not terrible. I proceeded to get ready (hair was the priority), grabbed a banana & a protein bar, and headed out the door with my MIL.

Contractions were 4 minutes apart, but still not horrible, so I didn't say much. Every once in a while, one would get painful, I'd have to stop & breathe through it, and then I'd move on. Walking into Dr. P's office, I was cranky. I had already declared to Josh that when Dr. P announced no change in my cervix, I was going to karate chop his throat. Pregnancy makes me so dainty & feminine. 

Dr. P walks in and asks me if I had eaten breakfast...random, but yes, I had. He uses the doppler to find the heartbeats, I peel my "skivvies" off, as he likes to call them, take a deep breath & watch him focus. He smiles & says, "Head up to L&D. You're a 4 or a 5. Let's have some babies." As in true Andrea form, nothing motherly escapes from my mouth: "are you shi**ing me?" "I shi* you not," he replies. So, I dress, head up to L&D, and am eventually put on the monitor. The boys look great, but suddenly the contractions have picked up. They are quite painful & now 2 minutes apart.

Last belly shot! 
And can we just pause a moment to thank my hairdresser for making me look fabulous for surgery!?

Here's the weirdest part. For the 2+ hours that I was up in L&D being monitored, I was in a weird zen-like state. I texted the family & closest friends I needed to text. All very matter-of-fact. Not Andrea-esque in any way. I should have been more hummingbird-like, but I just wasn't. I was in shock. I was planning on karate chopping my doctor that morning, not having TWO babies. So, I chatted & texted & breathed through contractions. We had gone from "c-section in 8 hours" to "you won't make it that long - probably 4 hours" to "you're going in in 30 minutes." It moved fast. And that was fine with me. Then, I got up to pee. And it hit me. I laid back down in the bed while I was "prepped" for surgery "down there," closed my eyes and the room was so loud that it felt like I had turned on a white noise machine. It was hitting me right now. I no longer wanted to do this, I wanted my girlfriend, Maren, my photographer, to leave and I wanted to go back to bed. I wasn't ready.

They put a sexy hair net on my head, threw a warm blanket over my shoulders and we waddled walked to the OR. It was a bright room with lots of sunlight, but it was chilly. I hopped up on the operating table, and they began the process of inserting my spinal. I was floating just 2 minutes later. Suddenly, the room was abuzz. There were 5 nurses surrounding each incubator, my nurses, the anesthesiologist, and Dr. P. My husband & Maren came in shortly after.

He's the best! Dr. P paused for a picture before heading in to slice me & dice me like Dexter. And ladies, he's single & ready to mingle.

Josh kept his forehead to mine for most of the surgery, talking to me, telling me he loved me, and making jokes. He even held up the air sickness bag at maximum arms length when I started to heave from the medication. He jumped up to see the boys as they arrived, and to witness the murder scene that was unfolding in the OR. He was sure this was how I was going to die. I cried the second Dr. P lifted Jax out to show me my first little boy! He was the cutest little old man I'd ever seen. They jostled me around some more & out came Jett, the other cutest little old man I'd ever seen. Jax quickly cried his cry of indignation, but Jett took a bit to make some noise. They were both quickly rushed out of the OR & into the NICU. Their story to continue in Part 2...

Jax Thomas (4 pounds, 9 ounces; 18 inches)

Jett Lucas (5 pounds, 3 ounces; 18 3/4 inches)

The anesthesiologist announced that I would feel sick now because they were "putting my uterus back into my body." I don't know if him saying it or them actually doing it made me sick, but I was heaving again. They began to get placentas out and stitch me back up, and I was relieved to know I was almost done. The nurses cleaned up the murder scene, Dr. P leaned over & kissed my cheek, shook Josh's hand & we were rolled out the door to recovery. Josh headed off to see the boys, and I closed my eyes in recovery with Maren, & then, Kylie at my side.

The rest of the day was a blur. I was rolled into the NICU from recovery after an hour, but wasn't able to see much. I was able to touch Jax, but Jett was having some breathing issues, so it wasn't as easy for me to get through the sea of nurses to touch him. I spent the rest of the afternoon laying in bed, resting, finally eating, hearing tons of information that people swear they told me, but I have zero recollection of hearing.

Yes, the boys are doing well. Yes, I will update you about the first 24 hours with them. Yes, I am doing well. And yes, I am in pain, but I'd choose a C-section over natural any day. And before you blow up my phone asking about Jett, I will tell you everything tomorrow. He's doing GREAT, and every update we get is an improvement from the last one. I will probably be headed home Monday, but they will, more than likely, be here for about a month.

Thanks for reading, caring, praying, texting, and loving our litter. Look for Part 2 of the Twinkies' Birth Story tomorrow. Right now, I get to milk myself pump for the boys and then I'm going to go snuggle them some more.

xoxo,
A.

35 weeks | 3rd Trimester

I wrote this the night before I went into labor. Figured I'd publish 35 week stats & then update you later today on the Twinkies!

Taken by my MIL after my FIL remarked that it was shocking that I was able to stand. Not the most attractive picture of me, but it's the best shot to show how my belly defied gravity!

Official maternity photo. 
My BFF, Pollyanna (aka Kylie) really wanted me to have an ethereal, feminine photo of me lying on our bed, in a flowing dress that drapes beautifully over the beach ball while Maddie kisses my tummy. True to form, I opted for my yoga pants, the ratty slippers that are falling apart and my token Starbucks cup. 

How far along? 35 weeks
Babies are the size of a? Coconut
Total weight gain? 34 pounds
Maternity clothes? Obviously.
Stretch marks? Still none.
Sleep? Sleep has been spotty this week. LOTS of painful contractions that are waking me up or keeping me awake. Shockingly, my moaning & groaning hasn't woken Josh up once. He'll clearly need a loud wake-up call when it happens.
Miss Anything? Not waddling.
Movement? Jett has decided to lodge his large head into my rib cage and wedge himself at a ridiculous diagonal angle, so that feels great.
Food cravings? Still blueberry pie. I may need to call around before I'm no longer pregnant & it is no longer acceptable to wolf down a pie alone.
Belly Button In or Out? Out.
Rings on or off? Depends on the chub of my fingers each day.
Symptoms? Not much besides that overwhelming feeling that my pelvis will shatter at any minute from the sheer volume of these two.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nah.
Labor Signs? Lots of painful contractions. We're praying these contractions are opening that cervix. In fact, I may have burst into song the other day with "...Open the flood gates of my cervix..." 
Happy or Moody most of the time? Pretty happy!
Looking forward to? Not being achy all the time. 
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dear Twins



Hi, it's me, Mom. You have now been inside of my body for 35 weeks. Today, I am 35 weeks large. You two don't seem to care.

When I first found out I was pregnant with two babies, I was totally panicked. Panicked. We bought a brand new car just 4 short weeks before finding out our bundle of joy was 2 bundles. You two wouldn't fit in the new car. That we just bought. Not the most motherly of thoughts when it comes down to it, but that's what went through my mind. I'll make it up to you at some point.

Just a couple of months later, we were given the warning that this wasn't going to be an easy pregnancy. Now, many of Mom's friends thought that mandatory bed rest seemed like a dream. No, no. Let me tell you. I have too much energy/OCD/ADD/anxiety to bother laying around all day. I mean, you can only rewatch The Office so many times.

Oh, and pelvic rest. Thanks a lot.

By the time we were just shy of the third trimester, I landed in the hospital for 6 weeks with contractions & nearly no cervix. You guys will hear about Mom's short cervix for the rest of your lives. You're welcome.

Here we sit. The three of us. Jax, your head is slamming up against my cervix & bladder. You have totally made me pee myself. I hope you enjoyed that. Jett, if you could find it in your heart to move your head out of my rib cage, I wouldn't find it necessary to lean over chairs & couches to try & use gravity against you. And while we're at it...after 8 months of stretching, sweating, aching, crying, hormoning, hemorrhoiding, and peeing, I have just one simple request: getoutgetoutgetout!

I'm very excited to meet you both. I know you're both going to be super cool and super fun (I mean, look at your sister. We clearly make rad kids.), so just do me a solid. Waking up with contractions at 2am, that cause me to squeeze your Dad's leg, that inevitably lead to nothing, is really not my cup of tea. It's a lot better out here, so let's get this show on the road, little dudes.

Love,
Mom
Thursday, May 1, 2014

34 weeks | 3rd Trimester

We are finally in the home stretch and I am finally free! As you can imagine, my first day of freedom included Starbucks and Target. Plus, my mother-in-law took me for a mani/pedi! She thinks I deserved it after this debacle - I think she's right.


Since being back home, I've already had 2 follow-up visits with my favorite doctor. People, we are at 2cm dilated & 80% effaced! I count this a huge victory. My body feels battered and bruised. It's time for these boys to make their appearance. Given the position of Baby A, the cord presentation issue we had before and just the overall nature of twins, I won't be going past 37 weeks...END IS IN SIGHT! None of us, including Dr. P, believe that I'll even make it to that point. 

So, now, we wait. Nails are polished and shiny. My hair is the most beautiful ombré I have ever seen thanks to my amazing hairdresser, Miranda. Girlfriend offered to come down to my hospy room and do my hair in the bathroom! I mean, she's a keeper! Text me for her number! You will dump your girl in a flash to go see this GEM!




How far along? 34.2 weeks
Babies are the size of a? Butternut Squash
Total weight gain? 36lbs
Maternity clothes? I can finally wear my maternity clothes out!
Stretch marks? Still none.
Sleep? Besides waking up every 4 hours to take my Procardia (which stops contractions), I sleep as well as I can being the vast size that I am.
Miss Anything? Not waddling.
Movement? Always.
Food cravings? Blueberry pie. I've wanted it my whole pregnancy, but I have yet to get a piece.
Belly Button In or Out? Out.
Rings on or off? It still fits, but it's not comfortable.
Symptoms? My entire body is achy & sore, but it's the end, so this is the fun I can expect.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nah.
Labor Signs? Increasing contractions. I forgot how much these suckers hurt.
Happy or Moody most of the time? Pretty happy!
Looking forward to? Their arrival!