Sunday, December 29, 2013

6 months

I cannot believe my little boys are now 6 months old!  That sounds so incredibly old!!  Halfway through their first year of life.  While part of me is excited that they will begin to interact more and be less dependent on me, part of me is screaming for them to stay little.  I only get 18 years with them...and one of those is already half way gone!  It can't be!!  The days just fly right by.  Sometimes the minutes and hours drag on, but the days really do go quickly.  It has been 6 months since I had them kicking away inside of me...  And it's true what they say, only 6 months later and I hardly remember the contractions, bed rest, and pain of pregnancy.  Six full weeks of labor, and I found myself thinking "it wasn't that bad."  Right....

I am learning these days that the books are not written for preemie moms.  Because my boys, while 6 months old, act nothing like 6 month olds.  They don't act like their adjusted 3 months either.  We are sleeping up to 9 hours at night, yet needing food every 2.5-3 hours during the day.  Dean started rolling over nearly 3 months ago, Warren still sometimes struggles to lift his head up off the ground.  How does one parent that, raise kids so different from each other both emotionally and physically?  These last few days have been such a struggle for me as Dean started teething (aughhh!!!!) and Warren is angry we changed his schedule by traveling.  I am finding breastfeeding hopeless and frustrated I am back to waking at night to pump because these boys have decided they don't want to eat anymore.  Add to that constant crying from both of them...I think Andrew is regretting taking this much time off right now!

BUT, despite the stresses of this past week and the fact that I feel as though I might lose my mind at times, I continue to be amazed with where we are.  God has blessed us immeasurably.  I have two adorable boys who, when they choose to be happy, can light up my day.  They can scream constantly for a full hour and then flash a big toothless grin, and all is forgiven.  I love hearing their baby coos, laughs, and noises as they "talk" to me.  They've now been home for over 3 months, longer than they were in the NICU.  And I cannot imagine life without them.  They are living proof of God's faithfulness as we were told countless times they wouldn't make it.  And not only did they survive, but they are thriving, active, amazing little boys!

Happy half birthday, Warren & Dean.  We love you so much!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blessed

I am sitting in the rocker in the nursery as I watch my two sweet little boys sleeping soundly and I am left to reflect on just how blessed I am.  These boys, with all they have been through, being where they are now during this holiday season.  Last Thanksgiving was utter despair, and this year we have much to rejoice in.

I joined a preemie awareness group and have loved seeing the posts from others, seeing these tiny ones develop into toddlers, teenagers, adults through all the pictures.  So many little miracles.  But then I read about the 30 weeker still on oxygen at home, the 28 weeker with brain bleeds, the 27 weeker with NEC...and it goes on and on.  I am just left in awe of how smooth our NICU ride was.  We were in there for a LONG 87 days, but mostly it was just waiting for the boys to breathe on their own and then waiting for them to eat on their own.  I didn't go in each day terrified of what news we would get.  Every single test was normal by the time they came home - brain scans, heart scans, hearing, ROP - it all checked out.

When I think of my time there, I have very few truly scary memories.  It was a nervous wreck when they each had to have blood transfusions and when NEC was mentioned for Warren (negative).  The worst moment was when Warren (poor guy) had water dumped down his cpap and he got choked on it, maybe around 2-3 weeks old.  I watched him choking (nose plugged with the the breathing tube and chin strap on, so no way to get any air in), turning blue and fighting to get in some air, and I sobbed.  And then called Andrew and sobbed.  And then sobbed all the way home as I remembered the moment.  Warren was perfectly fine after an hour or so, but I was not.  And for having two micropreemies, a simple "dumping" was the absolute worst it got for us.  Praise the Lord!  No surgeries, no procedures, no reason for them to ever call us while we were at home.  I watched the little girl across the way from us battle with several surgeries, NEC, sepsis, and eventually MRSA and could only stand amazed at how well our boys did.

As I read about these preemie stories, I feel so different.  We knew in advance we would have preemies, knew they would have a long NICU stay.  There was no moment where everything suddenly changed or water broke or anything.  I never expected to leave the hospital with the boys when they were first born.  And so my early NICU days were not spent worrying and stressing but just being so excited!  I couldn't wait to get there each morning and hated to leave.  We feel as though the boys' biggest battle was not in the NICU but while I was still pregnant.  That was when we worried and prayed for a safe delivery and healthy boys.  And God answered that prayer in a mighty way.  He chose not to have me continue to carry them as we sometimes prayed, but gave us two incredibly healthy boys.  We have 27 weeker twins who are sleeping 7 hours, have no special medication, no brain issues, and are growing strong.  When I think of all that could have gone wrong, I realize how incredibly blessed we are.

It is so easy to take it all for granted.  Especially when they are both crying.  But during this week of Thanksgiving I am feeling extra grateful and appreciative of where we have come from last year, all the changes in our lives, and these two little miracles who were sleeping soundly when I started this...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Graduating to another size!

Our boys are so big!  And they are finally growing at a more acceptable rate...both up over 8 lbs now! (official weights coming again next week)  Our newborn clothes are becoming too short as they grow so tall!  I just found another few adorable newborn outfits in a bag in the closet, so I am sticking the boys in those for the next few days...and then we will pack away the box.  I always thought this would be my favorite stage as I've always loved the little babies.  I love holding them, their little baby moans and cries, the way the snuggle right up against me.  And I am sad to have to box up the clothes they have worn for these past several months.  (Felt the same way when I had to box up their preemie outfits).  BUT, I am excited to watch them grow.  I love that they are engaging their toys, smiling, laughing.  I'm ready for them to have head control so I can hold both of them when they are crying without feeling like I've got some bobble-heads on my hands.  I'm ready for them to space out the feedings so they can be awake for longer time periods to play.  And I can't wait for them to start recognizing and interacting with each other!

I just put some size 1 diapers in the drawer for nighttime since they are sleeping longer.  They swallow them up.  I don't know what 8 pound baby would have thighs big enough to fill those holes!  And then I saw their preemie diaper from the hospital.  Look at where we've been, where we are now, and where we're going!



The same with their little outfits


To think those preemie outfits were so big on them we had to roll the sleeves up twice!  And now at 5 months old we are graduating to the 0-3 month size. Way to go Warren and Dean!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thankful

We are finally settling into some sort of a routine.  And some days I even feel like a person!  I no longer dread each feeding and I am only pumping a handful of times after they nurse each day, giving me so much more time to spend with them.  We now try to play a little, which is just adorable to watch.  And then we attempt naps, which are successful about 10% of the time.  But at least I get to shower about every other day now!  And each week is better than the week before.  I love watching the boys develop personalities and learning how to comfort each of them.

I was up last night for several hours after the boys' middle of the night feeding thinking about where all we have been and what we have been through this past year.  From giving birth and watching our daughter taken away to bedrest and hospital stays to home.  And I am just amazed an in awe of what God has done for us.  Losing Reagan was the most horrific thing I could imagine.  To know your daughter, name her and have her room all picked out, to feel her kicking, and then be told suddenly she was gone.  You don't just recover from that in a month or two.  It changes you.  And it makes me sad that some people just cannot deal with that or understand our need to grieve both then and still now.  But God used Reagan to reach so many, to mend relationships, to strengthen friendships, to teach people about Him.  And we are so blessed for that, for all those who shared how much she changed them.  Because who can say that about a child so young?

And she paved the way for her younger brothers, healed the endometriosis that was rampant in my abdomen.  There were so many times during that pregnancy we thought we had lost the boys.  I still vividly remember the nurse in the hospital telling me my water was breaking back when they were only at 8 weeks.  We mentally said goodbye and started grieving again until the ultrasound proved God was bigger than any symptoms.  The specialist then told us just a few weeks later that we needed to prepare for the inevitable.  He did not believe the babies would make it.  But they did!  And when I went into labor at 21 weeks, the admitting doc told me that following week he did not think I would make it through that night.  But we did, and made it another 6 weeks after that.  God carried these babies through the worse of situations.  They are truly little miracles that no one thought would make it through.  I am just amazed at how big God is.  And how quickly I forget.

Last Thanksgiving was tough.  I said to Andrew that day that I felt as though I had nothing to be thankful for.  Our daughter was gone and everyone else was happily pregnant or caring for their newborns.  I felt like I had no where to turn - I couldn't tell these women how much pain it caused me to see them so happy when I felt like I was dying, couldn't figure out how to put into words that I was happy for them to have that but devastated I didn't, and I lost a lot of friendship because of that...which only made the pain harder.  Last year I had hope only in knowing that Reagan was in heaven and we would be reunited one day.  And this year?  This year we have so much to be thankful for.  As I move further away from Reagan's birth, I can be thankful for each and every day with her and the time together in the hospital.  I can celebrate her life, our firstborn child.  And I can be thankful we serve a God who is bigger than all circumstances and can bring peace no matter what.  I am also thankful for Warren and Dean, for the joy the bring me - the little smiles and giggles, the baby sighs, how they lay their heads on my chest and just snuggle in to sleep.

At times it is easy for me to have myself a little pity party...to think of all we've lost, the life I once had.  To feel trapped in the house, unable to go out because of the boys' mandatory isolation.  I went from menopause to morning sickness to grieving to bedrest to hospital and now isolation.  It's been a long 2 years, a lonely 2 years.  And there are 5 more months ahead of me before that will change.  Some days I dwell on that and think how unfair it all is.  But then I think about everything above, remind myself this season is temporary, and am thankful once again.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday sweet Reagan!  I cannot believe it has been a year since we welcomed you into this world and laid eyes on you for the first time.  You brought us so much joy in those brief moments!  And when I think back, I remember it like it was yesterday.  The labor pains are all a blur, but I remember how it felt to feel you kick for the first time, to see the joy on Daddy’s face when he felt it too.  I remember what it was like to hold you for the first time, to see your precious face.  And I remember what I felt when we laid you in that basket and said goodbye to you.  And my heart continues to break.  Time does not make this easier.  I don’t think anything ever will.  But today, on your birthday, I want to remember the good times. 

The first time I felt your little flutter kicks we were on the way home from church.  I was having a hard day, not feeling very well, and I think you knew that.  And so you kicked as hard as you could.  I didn’t feel you move again for a little while, but then I started feeling the butterflies more and more often.  And Daddy finally felt them right before a Clemson game. 

You loved your Tigers!  We took you to 2 games and you helped the Tigers win in each of them.  Every time you would get to kicking away at my bladder, the Tigers scored.  Four out of four times!  What a huge fan you were!  We like to think you continue to watch the games from Heaven and cheer them on.  And we are saving your special Clemson onesies for your future younger sisters so they can have something from you.

The day you were born was such a bittersweet day.  Part of me didn’t want to believe it was true, I wanted to keep you inside of me and pray constantly God would bring you back.  I made the doctors do a 3rd ultrasound just to be sure.  And labor took so long, but I knew it was the last I would ever feel of you and I didn’t want it to end.  But then it did, and I delivered you at 11:16 PM after the hardest day of my life.  And you were just perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  You were the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  You looked just like us!  I am still in shock when I look at my baby pictures just how much you looked like me.  And it makes me smile.  You had the most delicate, little features – eyes, cheekbones, chin – with the biggest pouty lips and longest eyelashes.  So special.  We fell in love with you in an instant, more than before.  Seeing you just locked us in for life.  I will always cherish our time together.

This past year has been so difficult.  We continue to grieve what we are missing with you, though we know we will be together again.  We welcomed your younger brothers into the world on June 29 this year.  They were also little, but look huge compared to you.  When I look at your footprints next to theirs, there is no comparison!  They have such big boy feet!  We are all home now after a long hospital stay.  I know you have been praying for them and looking out for them, such a good big sister.  We love having them home, but sometimes it is a painful reminder of what we didn’t get to do with you.  And when everyone was excited for our family to be together again, we felt the emptiness of you not being here.  Because we still don’t feel like our whole family is together again.  But one day we will be again!

Not a day goes by that we don’t think of you.  And we talk of you often, tell Warren and Dean all about you.  We want them to grow up knowing they have a big sister.  To always know that October 31 is YOUR day.  And I want to celebrate your birthday each year.  To try to think of the positives, to be happy for you and not sad for us.  I want it to be spent planting flowers for you in your garden, visiting the last happy place you went in the mountains, setting loose purple balloons, and watching your video.  We want to celebrate your life and all the joy your brought into ours.  So today, on your very first birthday, that is exactly what we are doing.  We love you so much baby girl!


Happy one year birthday Rea Rea!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Always remembering

I cannot believe one year has past.  One year since we learned our little girl had passed away.  One year since our lives changed forever.  One year of emptiness and longing for what would never be.  This past year has been the darkest, loneliest, and most stressful of my life.  When I think back to October 30 of last year, I am haunted by the image of Reagan's empty chest.  Of her lifeless image on that ultrasound.  Of feeling my heart plummet, not understanding what went wrong.  Of questioning each and every moment of the pregnancy, trying to figure out what I did wrong.  It broke me, and I am still struggling to put back the pieces.  No matter how much time goes on, life will never be the same.  I will never "get over" or "move on."

I cannot think back to one year ago without instantly tearing up, so sad for what we lost.  Tomorrow, tomorrow has joy associated with it as we got to hold her.  But today, today is just dark, depressing.  It feels like I am going through it for the first time all over again, just as fresh.  And I just want to curl up in a ball and sob for my baby girl, but I no longer have that freedom.  The boys need me to be strong.  And that almost makes it harder.  This morning, all three of us were just crying together as I was telling Warren and Dean about Reagan.  And then it was right back into a feeding frenzy and daily life.  I feel like the whole world should stop so we can have a day, just a single day, to dedicate to sweet Rea Rea.  Instead, tomorrow will be filled with trick-or-treaters ringing our bell and little girls dressed as princesses walking down the street, reminding me that my little princess is gone.

I have to keep reminding myself of the truth, of what I know in my head to be true.  Reagan is okay.  And she is happy, healthy, and thriving.  She is not wanting for anything.  And we are now one year closer to seeing her again.  What a blessing!  My heart cannot comprehend that right now as I am overcome with my own grief, but I know that.  And I have hope.  Even when I don't feel it, it is the truth.  And I can continue to find comfort in that.  It doesn't take away the ache, doesn't change what happened, doesn't make me miss my girl any less.  But it helps.  This is not the end of our story.  And in our growing family, I know can hold and kiss and love on our miracle babies, now 4 months old.  And just stand in awe of how much they were able to endure, how much God carried them through.  Two healthy baby boys.  They in no way replace Reagan or what we lost.  And again, sometimes seeing them as they hit different milestones makes it harder, a painful reminder of what we won't see Reagan do.  But we are grateful nonetheless, for every moment we have together.  Because life is precious and fleeting.

One year closer to being reunited with our firstborn baby girl, sweet Reagan...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Home

Since coming home it seems I have fallen off the face of the Earth. Feeding initially consumed 10-12 hours a day which left little time for anything else. We still have times where it is an hour and a half before everything is done, but we are moving in the right direction and closer to an hour most of the time. Having 2 hours before starting again just makes all the difference in the world.  I can actually shower!

We absolutely love being home. No doubt about it. And there are these great moments when Warren looks right at us with his big blue eyes or Dean smiles that make my heart melt. These boys mean the world to me. Even though Warren has colic and screams all night...

I used to be so frustrated and hurt by all the new mom who complained of being tired. I wanted to scream at them. Because what does tired for a few months compare to losing a child. I would have given anything for sleepless nights because I was up with Reagan. And so, even though it's hard to feel that when Warren is on hour 4 of continuous crying, we are so thankful for these sleepless nights. So grateful God has blessed us with these 2 miracles. It's exhausting and overwhelming raising preemie twins, but I love these moments. Like now, as I peck away on the iPad while rocking Warren in the nursery. Listening to his sweet baby snores as he is finally asleep once again.

It's hard work, way more than I ever thought. I pictured going to the park, making dinner with one baby in the carrier and one peaceful in the swing. I imagined double nursing them (and in my own ignorance thought that would be an easy thing! And that it would only take maybe 30 minutes...) I never imagined having to walk nonstop with Warren because every time you stop he screams again, or fighting with Dean to get him to finally nurse, or holding these boys all day long because they cry nonstop when they're down. It's not the rosy picture I painted in my head, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

As we continue our isolation (no indoor places, no contact with kids, adults must have flu shots, etc) we are trying to be creative with how we can still see people. Because really, I've basically been isolated since bed rest started in February. It's a long and lonely road. And so we are going to try to take the boys to Clemson. I may regret that immediately, may be a complete failure, but we're taking the boys to see where we fell in love. And to experience a football Saturday. A crazy one, with FSU this week and Gameday, but still. And to keep them in isolation we get to wear them the whole time so no one else touches them or coughs on them. Guess we'll find out just how comfortable our new carriers really are!

And that about ends my free time. On to another feeding with this now squirmy little boy

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Almost there

So I have been super slack with my blogging. I can't count how many times I've started a post while the boys were sleeping at the hospital only to have one of them spit up, cry, brady, etc and never get back to it. So much has happened in the past 3 weeks since I last wrote. To sum it up:
Both boys started taking full bottles the first week of September and we were scheduled to come home that second week. Dean made it, coming home on the 13th. Warren developed severe reflux and had multiple bradys (dips in his heart rate) which grew longer and required more stimulation. And so his discharge date got pushed back again and again. We are so thankful for a great team of doctors who got him on thicker feedings and we are so excited to be coming home tomorrow!  

Life at home with Dean has been easier than I expected. If I wasn't working to get him breast feeding and still pumping 6 hours a day, it would be a breeze. He's such a sweet boy!  Just generally happy and calm, mostly sleeping well, takes his bottles great. When we're both home, I can cook, we can go for walks, sit out on the porch. It's great!  For that 1.5 hours between feedings....

The only downside has been traveling to the hospital each day to visit Warren. I hate them not being together. And when we said bye to Warren the day we brought Dean home, it just felt like I was abandoning him. We got there and I just held him and cried for the little boy we were leaving behind. Thankfully, he had no idea. None whatsoever. Completely oblivious to the fact that brother was gone. And we've realized that we actually got more quality time with Warren since we had nothing to do but hold him while at the hospital (and pump of course!). But at home, we were getting stuff ready and cleaned and cooking and everything else. And Dean, good boy that he is, just hangs out in his swing or in our carriers. 

I am terrified at having them both home. Having twins is hard. Having a preemie is hard. Having twin preemies?  Eek. The feeding schedule, trying to get them to both learn nursing while countering nipple confusion, dealing with Warrens reflux after eating, and still carving out 6 hours a day to continue pumping until they can nurse...If I've done the math right there will be about an hour between feedings. All day and all night. Not at all complaining, just anticipating the tired. It's a good problem to have. Someone remind me of that in another week...

So Warren and I are hanging out together for the last time in the hospital as we have our sleepover in Parent's Place. After spending every day in the hospital since May, tomorrow will be the last time I drive to Presby for what will hopefully be a long time! Yay for coming home!  So excited. But as I look forward to having the boys home, I can't help but ache for little Reagan as our family is not truly all home. Not yet, but one day. Still looking forward to that sweet reunion in heaven when our boys can meet their big sister!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Exhaustion

So, the NICU got the best of me yesterday as I sat there sobbing, unable to pull it together. When I really think about it, we are so blessed things have gone so smoothly. No major problems with either boy, no infections, no bleeds, no complications other than them being micro preemies. But sometimes it gets to me and I have a little pity party for myself. Last night, it was the feelings and pumping. We start Warren at 7:15 with his assessment, feed at 7:30, and repeat with Dean. This wraps up at 8:40 by the time Dean is burped and settled. Then I pump, 8:50-9:30. And the cycle gets repeated again starting at 10:15. Giving me a 45 minute break. All day and all night. The thought of doing that at home is overwhelming and exhausting. And the fact that they don't breast feed doubles the time. But, according to lactation, that will continue for the first ~2 months they are home. Can I handle 2 months of sleeping 45 minutes at a time?  Am I that dedicated to breast feeding??  Not so sure at the moment... 

This is supposed to be my time of rest. I use the term rest rather loosely, as I still only sleep for 2 hour increments between pumps and am at the hospital before 7:30 for the first feeding. And there is so much guilt at leaving them there during the day to run errands, eat, nap, etc that I can't seem to let myself do it. Especially now that they are bigger and know who I am. And I can hold them. So hard to be away. Just continuing to pray the boys develop more and we can all go home soon!  Preferably on the same day so we don't have to balance that as well!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Feeding

Feeding is by far more frustrating than breathing. Yes, breathing was hard. Hard to watch your child struggle and fail time and time again. Hard to see them so upset with the bubble and watch them scream and rip it off their face.  But now, they receive essentially no skilled care. There is really nothing done at he hospital that I couldn't do myself...until there's a problem, of course. We give them a bottle, they take a few sips.  I try to breast feed, they scream. So then we try a bottle again. They fall asleep. Back to tube feeding. And really, I could tube feed them myself. But that is why we are here, because they can't go home with the tube.

Andrew fed each of them their first bottles. Dean last week, and Warren yesterday. But for the most part, it's a few gulps.  Sigh. Some babies have been back here for 6+ weeks working just on feelings. I can't make it 6 more weeks. This is now the time the boys would have been born had my pregnancy not sucked and if I didn't go into labor. So now I feel like we should be home. Now I am getting jealous of those moms who walk in, have a baby, and walk out with their family. The happy couples we say congratulations to in the elevator each day as, yet again, I am off to visit my sons under supervision surrounded by monitor alarms, beeps, and other screaming children. We are just so very ready to be home!

View from my chair all day



Kangaroo care make every moment worth it

Friday, August 23, 2013

Expectations

Life is not at all how I dreamed it.  I was always a planner.  I can remember in college sitting out by the pool, talking about what my future would hold.  When I think back, I always imagined having 4 kids.  Naturally.  And the first would arrive when I was 25.  And I would be finished by 30.  One boy and 3 girls.  That was the plan, and I was somehow so sure of it.  And here I am, at 28 almost 29, with 3 children.  One in heaven, 2 fighting in the NICU.  I have never spent the night with them, never been there for them in the middle of the night, never even been alone with them.  None of my children have ever been outside the hospital.  Including my hospitalization, the boys have spent 4 months inside the walls of Presbyterian Hospital.

We moved stuff around because we had carpet cleaners come and had to move Reagan's bookshelf into the bathroom. (Didn't want the carpet guys to move that one)  And I just sat there, holding her urn, sobbing.  She should be here.  She should be able to give her brothers advice, which they promptly ignore because she's just a girl and what do girls know??  We sit in the hospital and hold the boys and sometimes tell them about their big sister.  We try to emphasize that she is in heaven and we will see her again, so not to be sad.  But I don't think we're very convincing since we cry each time.  So today, I am especially missing her.  Some days are like that, tomorrow will be better.

We continue to try to trust in God's timing and wisdom.  There is a reason we are being challenged with this, and there is always something to learn.  And really, the boys are doing very well.  With being born at 27 weeks, missing the entire 3rd trimester, things could have been bad.  But, God is good and has protected them.  And, at some point in September, we should be able to bring them home.  To the new cribs my neighbor so graciously picked up for us.  Until then, it's back to the hospital for us, and back to Charlotte living for a few more weeks.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Special Care

So, we hit 34 weeks and just took off!  Both Warren and Dean went to 100% room air, no bubble, on Saturday. Can't believe they hit that milestone together. So proud of Warren for catching up!  On Sunday, all the oxygen support stuff, except for the ambu bag, was gone from their cribs. And then yesterday we were moved out of the high risk area into special care!  Still back in the NICU, but one step closer to going home. Now begins the feeding battle.  Which is already up and down.

The boys are now weighing in at over 4 pounds!  And we can now hold them when they fuss or for feedings. Such a drastic improvement since 2 weeks ago. God is so good!  Can't wait to have these little boys home!  Last night, Dean was struggling.  He was fussing and crying and you could just tell he felt bad. I couldn't leave him in the hands of the nurse to hold and comfort him - that was my job. So I stayed late and held him on my chest till he fell asleep.  Just a taste of home life and I am even more ready to get there. All the loud screaming babies around me right now don't help either...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Progress


We are finally moving forward!  The first 5 weeks seemed to move at a snail's pace. And steps forward seemed to be countered by steps back. It is incredibly frustrating to watch your children struggle so much. To see them so upset and not be able to comfort them. To spend all day by their bed but not be able to touch them. 

But the past week has changed everything!  God is so gracious. Both boys continue their room air trials - Dean 9 hours twice per day and Warren 6 hours twice per day. So at least half of their lives are spent off breathing assistance. They are now in their big boy cribs, upgraded from the isolets.

Dean in baby jail

It is so wonderful to be able to pick them up and hold the, when they cry, take pictures without going through a plastic shield, and love on them. Such a drastic difference. I mean, look how good Warren looks...breathing all by himself! 


I am finally getting use of all my knitted/crocheted hats. Can't wait to put them in their football helmets in a few more weeks!  Within the next 2 weeks, they should be off the cpap completely. Next hurdle...feeding by mouth.  At least I get to be a part of that!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Room Air Trials

Success!  So proud of my boys. Warren got tired of everyone talking about how he was behind, that he couldn't breathe as well as his little bro. So, he decided to show us all. In their temporary, quiet space (moved so their old unit could be rewired for a new computer system) he thrived. No extra oxygen requirements, lost the chin strap, and earned himself a room air trial. Which he PASSED on his very first try on Friday. Way to go Warren!  He passed again the next day, making it the full 3 hours, while watching his Uncle Wade get married on FaceTime. And then he got tired. And had 10 bradys that night. So, he lost his privileges. But he has the chin strap off again and we're working our way back. 

Dean continued with his one hour trials, sometimes making it, sometimes not. Until he heard that Warren beat him. Then he got mad.  And decided to step up. He now completed the full 3 hours 2 days in a row!  And no bradys last night, so we continue today. Yay!  We are slowly getting there...

And now, when they have the bubble cpap on, they are both incredibly fussy. They hate it. REALLY hate it. And they constantly rip it off their faces. Kinda cute, but not very functional. 

Warren ripping off his bubble

Warren's first trial

Dean sucking his thumb on his trial

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One month

Happy one month birthday boys!  We are so proud of all you have done this month!

The morning of their first month birthday started off so stressful. The boys were doing great, but the nurse was stressing me out. And I left for lunch feeling like the worst mom ever. But we had a blast that night. We were back with their primary night nurse who let us play together. We got to have a little photo shoot!  Granted, it was on a scale instead of the soft fuzzy blankets I had pictured, but still so much fun. Here's a few from the night. 

Family shot

Not so sure about this...

Yep, I want more space! Already acting like brothers :)

A little more content with tummy time

So the first month has definitely been up and down. Warren is doing 100% better now. He is down to no extra oxygen with a lower pressure on his cpap. And he tolerated having everything off for about 20 minutes with no episodes!  Yay!  Dean is tolerating 1 hour room air trials better after a blood transfusion but has not tried another full 3 hour trial. I am getting anxious and ready for them to be off all the extra tubes and such because they get so mad about it!  Every time the prongs are pushed back up the nose they cry like you are stabbing them. And there are actual tears, chin quivering sobs. Breaks my heart each time. But we are slowly getting there. Another few weeks??  But outside the breathing, they are doing so well!  Every test is normal and they are growing like crazy. Now up to 3 pounds 3 oz!  Chunkers! Love them so much and so grateful for them. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Envy

I have never been the girl to envy what other people have. My neighbor gets a new car? Great. Furniture gets delivered? Good for them. That has never made me want to run out and purchase the same thing or feel like I was lacking. But I now find myself getting getting jealous of all the other babies in here. Twins born the day after the boys, at only 28.5 weeks, are already moved to the special care nursery. A baby boy born Monday at 29 weeks is already doing room air trials. Dean struggled so much, fought his way thru this room air trials last week, and they aren't letting him try again. He does so well with his breathing all day and it's just frustrating to see your child work so hard and be told he fails. It again makes me feel as though I let them down. Two more weeks would have made such a difference!  If only I could have made it 2 weeks. Cut their NICU time in half...

Look how frustrated Dean is. He's hiding his face...or thinking about pulling out his tubing??

 

I know our boys are doing great "for their gestational age". But just once I want to hear they're doing great period, without having to qualify it. I long for the day when I can hold Warren without alarms going off and having to worry about him getting enough oxygen during the transition. I want to be able to sit and rock them without it being too much stimulation that it makes their heart rates drop. I want to see their faces without being covered by tape and tubes. And I want to feed them myself, not watch it go down a tube by force over an hour. As we're approaching 1 month on Monday, it's beginning to get to me. (At least today, never know tomorrow) And I'm just so tired.  So is Warren...



We saw improvements every few days for those first several weeks. But none in the last week. Maybe that's what is making this harder today??

Friday, July 19, 2013

Great Day

Today has been a wonderful day. Warren decided to straighten up, for the most part, yesterday. Some of the nurses who had him his first days came back and worked with him again and he seemed almost comforted by that. So far today he has required no extra oxygen. His cpap is turned to a higher setting so he receives more forceful air delivery, but it is the same air we are breathing. So proud of him and his hard work!  He tolerated some big changes today, too. He moved isolets!  Same location, just to a new, clean one. This required unhooking him from all the equipment. And while we were at it, we weighed him on the big boy scale, gave him a bath, and I got to hold him (for just a few minutes) without all the headgear. He's got such a cute head of dark hair!  He looks so much like his daddy...

And Dean has just finished hour 2 of 3 for his second room air trial. He also got a bath today, though he wasn't as upset by this as his brother!  And then I put on his hat I made while on bedrest, wrapped him in a blanket, and held him like a regular baby.  Maybe regular isn't the right word...term baby?  Anyway, he was swaddled in my arms, looking up at me with his big blue eyes. So precious. He's now back in the isolet finishing his feeding, resting comfortably at 97% saturation. 

As I am able to be more involved in their care, as nurses get to know me better and feel more comfortable with me stepping in, I am finally starting to feel somewhat like a mom. It's hard, when your child lives in the box, to have a connection. Though one little look, seeing their eyes open, holding them, etc all help significantly. It's just not what you picture when you learn you are pregnant. And we had months to prepare ourselves for the reality that they would likely be very early. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to suddenly go into labor. Or for the term babies born sick, when parents have to leave them behind when they are discharged, and there was no advanced warning of that. One of the few things about bedrest and hospitalization I have to be thankful for. 

I will be posting pictures again soon!  I cannot believe how much they have grown.  Only about 100 grams over birthweight but up over 300 grams from their low point!  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New normal

One would think, given that I spend all day in the NICU with infants I can't really interact all that much with, that I would have all this time to blog and keep people updated, to remember and look back on these days. Clearly not working out. My days are busier than I would have expected. And I used to use this initially as a way to vent, then to celebrate our daughter, then to grieve, and then for prayer. And now, I don't know what I am feeling most of the time. A lot of overwhelmed with this jumble of emotions I don't quite know how to express. 

The boys are now 18 days old. Craziness. It seems like ages ago I was in that hospital bed fighting labor and trying to give the boys another day, another week. And yet time is going so fast. We are now back over birth weight!  Warren and Dean go back and forth for who is weighing the most on any given day. Warren is long and thin and Dean is shorter and more robust. But they are both growing and looking so much better than last week, less fragile. 

Dean is moving right along. He remains on room air with breathing assistance from the bubble cpap. He no longer needs a chin strap to keep his oxygen saturation high and is loving the freedom. He recovers quicker from his assessments with less help. And he has some lungs!  He can cry with the best of them. His feedings have progressed to 2/3 an ounce so they have stopped all IV supplements and removed his picc line. He's growing up so fast!

Warren is having a tougher road. His lungs were less developed from the beginning, requiring a second dose of surfactant. And then he was thriving. The past several days have been more difficult for him. He has gone up on his oxygen, currently at 32%, with more frequent desats (oxygen saturation dropping below 80). He has struggled with his feedings, going up and down, and is currently receiving all nutrition via his picc line. They will resume feedings today. He's had 3 chest X-rays so far, all normal, trying to see why he is struggling to digest and breathe. He has several episodes a day, 5 in the last hour, of apnea and bradycardia. This causes the scary sounding alarm to go off. The only me that sends nurses running. But he remains active and alert. And when I hold him, he gradually works his way back to room air. He is such a sweet boy and cuddles right up to his momma. Last week there were talks of him being ready to try breathing without the cpap, this week it was turned up. Up and down we go. 

So my day consists of the following: pumping, temperature check and diaper change on Warren, watch nurse mess with cpap and position, temperature check and diaper change in Dean, watch nurse mess with his cpap while he cries hysterically as if someone were stabbing him. This cycle takes 1 hour and 45 minutes and is repeated every 3 hours. Once each day I get to hold one of my sons during that in between time provided they are having a decent day and no other tests have been done.  During 2 other breaks I get food real quick. Which leaves me with this mid morning break to journal, read to them, etc. Unless they are having bad days and monitors are going off constantly. And the I spend that hour trying to help get them adjusted or staring down the nurse if she is not being attentive enough....

So we could all use continued prayer, especially little Warren today. And its not all stressful. Sometimes it is peaceful and wonderful. 


Andrew reading the Jesus Storybook to Dean last night during family time. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Week 1 NICU: roller coaster

I still cannot believe I have 2 little boys. I look at them, and can't believe they came out of me. It is all so surreal. And they are just so cute!  (Not biased at all...)

Our first week in the NICU has been up and down. I've now been out of the hospital for a week and a, adjusting to being upright again. I'm surprised how little the weakness is affecting me now...though I guess I don't really do a whole lot of activity during the day. I love sleeping in my own bed, sitting up to eat, walking to get something for myself, and standing in the shower. But I hate being away from my boys. I am there for at least 12 hours a day, yet there is this moment of gutrenching guilt each time I leave. Like I am abandoning my children and leaving them with strangers. And they seem to look just a little more sad as we are saying goodbye. Breaks my heart...

The first days in the NICU were far better than I expected. Warren and Dean were both doing great, already on room air with the assistance of the bubble cpap. Their vitals looked good. All tests came back normal expect for PDAs in their hearts which responded quickly to meds. And so I thought I could handle it, no problem. What we learned is that there is a honeymoon period with premies, almost like they don't realize they're out in the world yet. Well, they know now. And it makes them so mad!  

They have the most pitiful cries you will ever hear. Warren's is a little higher pitched than Dean's, but they both sound more like whimpers than anything else. Heart rates rise to well over 200 when they get upset, causing monitors to beep. Then, because they're just ticked, they hold their breath.  More beeps on the monitor. And then finally their body can't take it anymore and heart rates plummet causing the scary alarm. It takes way too long for their oxygen levels to rise back up to the acceptable 82%. And I just stand there helpless, because there is nothing that can be done. 

Today is a good day. Both boys are behaving, I have been reading to them, they are calm. But some days there seem to be this constant alarm going off. One of them is struggling and as soon as he recovers, the other starts up. I can't help, and sometimes I'm in the way. And at those moments, I don't feel like their mom. I struggle to know my place in all this. Those bad days we have to be hands off. So all I get to do for 12 hours is look at them though the plastic. Watch them fight for their lives. And try to trust that God will continue to carry them through. The doctor this morning said being in the NICU is a humbling experience because there is really very little he can do. And at those times, I am so thankful to trust in a God who is bigger than all this. Because otherwise one would just drown in this environment. 

Then there are moments when we get to hold the boys and we fall in love all over again. And everything I've been through since January makes it all worth it. 

Mommy and Dean

Daddy and Warren

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Warren and Dean

Wow, what a whirlwind. I'm not even sure where to begin or how to describe the past 10 days. I think I'm going to divide and conquer, starting with day one and catching up.

On June 28, I was taken to labor and delivery with increased frequency and intensity of contractions. I was up to one every 3-4 minutes. After a few hours of that, and no relief from meds, I was moved to the other hall. And my contractions promptly settled down. That Friday was the best day I had in quite a while with regard to contractions. At that moment I decided the boys were going to be stuck inside of me forever and I would spend 15 weeks total in labor. We returned to our normal room that night. And, of course, contractions resumed immediately. Literally, within 20 minutes I was in severe pain again. 

The following day was fairly typical for me until around 4 when things started picking up. I assumed it was more of the same, my "new normal" according to the doctor. So I requested my daily terbutaline shot to help with intensity and was informed my heart rate was too high. (I was at 120 resting.  Maybe my body was trying to tell me something??) So he said the only thing he could do was a physical vaginal exam, which hadn't been done since the pessary. I almost refused, thought I knew for sure everything would be fine. And after 6 weeks of constant contractions I was so sore I didn't want anybody in my personal space. Well, good thing I didn't refuse because we were told at 5:30 that I was going into labor. Doctor calmly said, "we'll do a section tonight" like it was nothing. I freaked momentarily. Then I was put on magnesium sulfate and promptly lost all ability to think at all. 

We returned to labor and delivery at 6:45. After a strong reaction to the mag, it was stopped early. But it helped significantly with my contractions so I thought maybe we could wait another few days. I could handle the pain. The nurse said that wasn't an option as the risk of infection was too high. We were told at 7 that they would be taking me to surgery at 7:30. We both freaked. Then prayed. Then cried. Then prayed some more. I had carried the boys as long as my body would possibly let me. 

By the time I got to the OR, I was 5 cm dilated. Everything was set, I got my spinal, Andrew was brought in, and away we went!  Warren Andrew Savant was born at 7:54 pm on June 29, 2013. He weighed 2 lbs 5 oz and came out screaming, one hand raised straight up. He did it! (He was the one wedged in my pelvis causing my late pregnancy issues). Dean Michael Savant was born at 7:55 and weighed exactly the same, 2 lbs 5 oz. Our calm baby came out the same way, nice and relaxed. Andrew saw them as they were pulled out and told me they were beautiful. I was taken to recovery and sent Andrew to stay with the boys. 

After some vague amount of time, maybe an hour? Maybe several? I was wheeled back to see my boys. They were just perfect. They didn't look so tiny to me, all swaddled in their isolets. And they were so cute!  I couldn't believe I was looking at my boys!  That I could see their little bodies outside of me. And that they were okay. More than okay, they looked so good!  I fell in love instantly. That same switch as with Reagan was flipped. These are my children, and I knew in that moment I would do anything for them. You know it before then, but there is just something so special about the first time you lay eyes on them. 

After that there were some days of physical recovery for me balanced with trying to see the boys and spend time with them, share time with family, allow myself to heal and rest, etc. All I wanted was to sit with my boys, but my body just wouldn't cooperate. I've come a long way in the past 10 days with healing and only really feel it by the end of the day. Time is now spent trying to figure out how to be a mom to 2 babies when I can't really do anything for them, can't hold them, and recently can't really even touch them. It breaks my heart. 



Warren Andrew


Dean Michael

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Labor & Deliver

Quickest way I know to reach people, so here's my quick blurb. I have professed into labor, am being doses with magnesium to help the little guys brains develop, and will deliver in the next few hours. We are terrified but trying hard to trust that God has a plan and will care for our boys. I will update as we have news and feel up to writing. 

Please pray for us. 27 weeks sounds just way too early

Monday, June 24, 2013

Maternity pictures!!

Last Friday, we got special permission from our doctor to go down to the hospital grounds for pictures. It was one of those times I was so thankful to be at Presby, which is so much more visually appealing than CMC.  So I get ready gradually over the afternoon, sitting up for a few minutes at a time to put on my face and do the hair. And God blessed us with a cool evening so I could wear my maternity clothes from Reagan, which felt more special than something borrowed frantically (though thanks to everyone who lent me clothes, and my mother-in-law who went shirt shopping for me!) I did have a second outfit picked out but was much too exhausted to make it thru another round.

We were also blessed with a wonderful photographer, Rebecca Perkins, who not only offered to help make our photography dreams come true, but offered to drive 4+ hours round trip to reach us once we wound up in the hospital! We couldn't be more thankful for her efforts. And no one would even know we were in a hospital!  Here's a few from our preview...love them!  






Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nothing's easy...

So...just learned that, in addition to everything else going on, I have gestational diabetes. Great. My body was just not made for this. I often wonder if that's why I had so many complications that prevented us from conceiving naturally. And then I think about our 10 little freezer babies and how we had planned to have them all, and I just want to cry. I don't know if I could endure this again, much less 10 more times!  So maybe the diabetes explains why the boys are so big, which I was once excited about. Not anymore...I'm just so thankful they continue to do well despite their hostile environment. 

But things are moving forward. We've been blessed by friends and family with showers and now have finally started on the nursery.  Well, our moms have, anyway. But I've seen pictures and it looks good! The paint sample we had from when we were deciding colors for Reagan remains and was transformed into a butterfly in honor of her.

The walls are yellow, the chair is ordered,and the clothes are hung. We have a general plan for everything else and will work on that once I get home in a few weeks (still hoping to go home by July 4 in celebration of 28 weeks!). And we have maternity pictures scheduled for tomorrow. I got special permission to go on the hospital grounds (grass!) in my wheelchair for the occasion. I was concerned very briefly we were doing them too early in the pregnancy, as I'll only be 26 weeks, but then Mary-Catherine informed me that I was becoming torpedo shaped. So, better now than when I reach that gross pregnancy stage where I will no longer allow photos to be taken (and we keep praying I reach that stage!)

26 weeks tomorrow, such a miracle! One month of hospital living down, hopefully just 2 more weeks to go!

Torpedo? Maybe in another week!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day

Another tough day yesterday...Father's Day. I never realized how many holidays, in addition to just daily things, would keep reminding us that Reagan is gone and bring that pain fresh again. We had a nice day yesterday though-big breakfast outside in the courtyard, opened cards, watched golf, visited with family-but underlying it all was Andrew's heartbreak. And I couldn't take it away. And my guilt still makes me feel like I'm the reason it was there, because I couldn't take care of her.

But what a blessing it has been to watch my sweet husband develop into a father over the past year. He has no children to hold in his arms or tuck into bed, but he loves our 3 little ones so much and sacrifices more than I would ever ask to care for us. He lives here at the hospital and is on call night and day when I start panicking that something is wrong, he gets us food and makes sure I stay hydrated, he rubs my back when it aches and puts lotion on my feet (which are harder and harder to reach these days), and he crawls into my hospital bed at night when I can't sleep. What an amazing husband!  I know he would love to see people, to do something fun outside of the hospital, yet he is here by my side. Not that I'm not fun...

As for the daddy side, I have never seen someone's face light up like Andrew's does when Reagan or his boys start kicking. I love it. And he is already cheering them on. He prays for them constantly, encourages them, talks to them, and reminds them just how much he loves them. There will always be a special place for Reagan in his heart, as she is his first and only girl. And so last night we were already planning what to do on her birthday, how we could make the day special for her. It's days like this I am so thankful God brought Andrew into my life, who has loved me and held me as we have walked through a year with so many struggles, stood by my side as we said goodbye to our daughter, and done everything in his power to make sure I know he doesn't blame me and that I have the support I need. And never once asked for anything in return. I could would never have chosen to go through any of this-infertility, loss, hospitalization- but I can't imagine doing this without my best friend with me. And I love him even more watching him be a father. Again, such a blessing to see him become such a Godly man. 

So...Happy Father's Day, Andrew! We love you!  From all of us,
Meghan, Rea Rea, and the boys

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Going crazy

So, my original thought was: I've been on bedrest for 15 weeks, what difference does it make to me if I'm at home or in the hospital??  Let me just tell you, BIG difference. Yes, I would spend the day passing time much the same way. And there were weeks at home when I wouldn't see anyone besides Andrew outside of my weekly appointment. But I had a routine, and it involved bedresting in 3 different locations. I'd start in the bed, eat my breakfast there, read to the boys, etc. Then I'd move to the game room, eat my snack, watch whatever was on the DVR, read a book. Then downstairs. Lunch on the couch, sometimes sitting outside to eat, back to the couch to work on projects for the boys while watching my way thru Grey's Anatomy from the beginning. Gets monotonous, days passed by slowly, but I had some flexibility on my modified bedrest time.

Key word in that? Modified. I now get 30 minutes seated each day and can get up to use the bathroom. I spend the per 23.5 hours in the hospital bed, on my side, oftentimes just staring at the wall. I swear the walls are moving closer to me. Little by little. When I am having bad days, lots of contractions and pain, I don't mind the tiny room, the fact that I hear my neighbors flush their toilets, the beeping of IVs and all hospital noises. I am thankful to be in a place where meds can be adjusted, tests can be run, etc to give my boys the best chance. But I've had 2 good days in a row now. And the thought of staying here another 4 weeks makes me want to pull my hair out. The stress of all this is going to make me super attractive...wrinkled, grey balding hair, pregnancy fluff.  Andrew brought up some newborn outfits for the boys to put in the room to remind me why. And every time I see them (thanks Auntie MC!) I remember why. It's not about me or what I'm going thru. It's about our little boys and the life they will have. 

We'll be 24 weeks tomorrow!  Doctors keep telling us that is huge, though I'd like to make it another 10. I got my final steroid dose today to help the little guys lungs develop. And hopefully when they're still cooking at 28 weeks we'll do another dose. But they are looking so good on ultrasound and moving all the time. Here's the latest pictures for you non-facebookers.  They get really hard to have good shots of now that they're wedged in there so tight.  






Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stabilizing...or not...or maybe?

So I started a blog post yesterday about how things were stabilizing and we were in a rhythm. Doctors said maybe I could go home at the end of the week. Well, some of them anyway. Too many doctors and they all say different things. Some were still talking like I might be here for a while,but the specialist seemed optimistic at I would be able to go home. And then last night, contractions picked back up enough for the on call doctor to put me back on my strong meds. So, 2-3 days of that (depending on which doctor I'm talking with at the time) and then we try for several days of stability after that. Then we discuss going home. So, deleted yesterday's post and we're starting over today.

I don't think bedrest at the hospital is really much different than at home, don't think I'm really much more bored here. I do miss having sitting privileges all the time as I only get 30 min per day here, but otherwise it is the same as my early bedrest days. And it give Andrew tremendous peace of mind for me to be under the watchful eye of the docs any only about 1 mile away from him during work. And for the most part, I feel okay, especially on his medication. Which makes me feel like I don't actually need to be in here...until times like last night. 

It's interesting, yesterday I spent some time praying for clarity. If they gave me the option to go home, should we? One doctor who said from the beginning I would need to stay said if we went home I'd just be back here in a few days. And that the stress of being home could make things worse. And then yesterday, it seemed like maybe it would be alright to go home. I had no idea who to listen to or who to trust to give me the best medical opinion. So we prayed for clarity, that we would know what decision to make and when to go home if at all. And God answered that prayer by giving me a night like last night. He never really answers things the way I would expect or like (we were hoping my cervix would miraculously get longer and contractions would stop). But that is not the road we are asked to travel at this point. And I am at peace with that. Still disappointed to lose out on all the fun things we had planned for last weekend and the coming weeks, but really that is nothing when I get to hold my precious baby boys. 

I have now reached the rate of exponential growth. I'd consider it uncomfortably exciting. I think I grow visually each day. Baby B has now completely overtaken my stomach and was weighing in at 1.6 pounds. Baby A is more on track with what they consider normal at 1.1. So I'm up to almost 3 pounds of baby!




Friday, May 24, 2013

Do you want the good news or the bad??

So...good news. Contractions are getting better. God has answered our prayers for things to calm down, for the cervix length to stabilize, and for the boys to continue being healthy. I have 3 more doses of medication allowed at this point and will be off by tomorrow morning. Scary thought, but I am trying to remind myself God has this-he can keep the contractions away even without meds. So I am choosing, at this moment, to be optimistic. Still nervous though. 

And bad news. The OB this morning said she recommends I stay here in the hospital at least until 28 weeks, maybe until delivery. The second OB came by a few hours later with the same opinion. There goes my fun shower, decorating the nursery, maternity pictures, all my plans. I know it is 100% worth it. No one needs to remind me of that. It's just disappointing and exhausting. And poor Andrew! Living here with me, going home to do laundry and yard work, and repeating again and again. (All while still working full time and worrying about everyone). 

And that's about it. More updates to come after meds stop this weekend. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Discouraged

It never ends. Discouraging news is constantly coming our way. Today we learned that the contractions are in fact shortening my cervix. Normal treatment? Cerclage. Just sew that thing shut. Not an option if you still have a uterine clot. Other treatment? Stronger drugs, also not an option now with continued bleeding. Thankfully we have a doctor who thinks outside the box and has us ordering a thing from Europe that will try to take some of the pressure off the cervix. Hopefully that will come in early next week and stop this progression. 

I am completely overwhelmed. I am trying to focus on the fact that the boys are still doing great and growing like nothing is wrong. But it is getting hard to remember that after these past few weeks. I keep waiting for my water to break or labor to start. And nothing can be done. I feel so helpless. I want so much to help my boys, but there is nothing that can be done. It is a miserable feeling. No more outings for me until things start looking better. I still can't believe how quickly they went downhill. 2 weeks ago I was told I had a cervix that looked like a fortress. (TMI?) Now, it's shortened by 65%. Starting to lose faith.  And I feel like I'm starting to drown with all this. How much more can we handle? 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Contractions

We were discharged from the hospital later on Sunday, so all in all it was a very short trip. I was prescribed meds to help reduce the contractions which help some but not as much as I would like. The doc did say with twins and the rapid stretching of the uterus to expect to have some contractions for the rest of the pregnancy. Joy. Nothing about this has been easy. I keep waiting for that moment...

Today the boys are the same gestational age as Reagan when she breathed her last. 21 weeks 3 days. I'm sure the emotional stress of that does nothing to help calm down the contractions. I've spent much of today in bed (no big surprise there) looking at our painting of Reagan and remembering our time together. Such sweet precious time. But not nearly long enough. And I am gripped with overwhelming fear that it will all happen again. That the boys aren't quite strong enough to handle all my body is putting them through and I will have to say goodbye to 2 more of my children before we even had a chance to know them. I love our boys so much and it is so hard to not be in control (there we go again with that). I want to take steps, follow a plan, and know that if I do everything right they will be okay. But I don't have that reassurance and there is nothing I can do. Just pray. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I cannot even express the grief Mother's Day holds for me as another year has come and gone with empty arms. Last year we had 14 little freezer babies. And I felt nothing like a mother. I had never seen any of my children, didn't know them, and felt very disconnected from them. We had no idea if I could even get pregnant or what the future held. And I felt considerable anger toward all women with infants or pregnant.

This year, I have a daughter. She is not with me. I have 2 sons I can't yet hold. I feel all alone again. And added onto everything, I am stuck in the hospital on the maternity ward surrounded by women who are giving birth and taking their children home. Even as I am writing this, baby cries are filling the background noise reminding me of what I don't have. I'm not angry anymore, I'm just heartbroken. And empty. And still not understanding God's plan for this.

I am now a mother. A mother who has experienced 6 months of morning sickness, 3 months of bedrest, 3 hospital stays, over 200 injections, and 10 months of pregnancy since last Mother's Day. And yet, there are no handprint or footprint handmade art for me, no child to hug and kiss and say "I love you" to. It breaks my heart. So thank you to those who sent a card or a note my way, to continue to honor Reagan's sweet little life. And I know if I had to go back to last year, I would do it all again for those few precious moments with our daughter. Because that's what a mother does.

Reagan's new garden for the summertime

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Drama

Okay, my exciting day of Starbucks and registering did not work out as planned. Super bummed. But after being up most of the night with contractions, we called the doc this morning. We met her at labor and delivery for some tests and then I was admitted to try to get everything to calm down and prevent labor. And now my future holds more bed rest :(. Again, totally worth it, but still. Boys still seem oblivious to the turmoil going on around them and have healthy heartbeats. And that about sums up the weekend. Maybe we'll try our outing in another week or so...

Friday, May 10, 2013

20 weeks

I am down to only 15 more weeks! Yay! I want these boys to be strong and healthy, but man I can't wait to not be pregnant! Things are just moving right along. I am now an uncomfortable size as things are stretching like never before. That second baby in there makes just a little bit of a difference... As I measure ~5 weeks big, I get to experience fun things like passing out when I lie on my back and Braxton Hicks contractions all day long...but he little guys are getting more active and I can feel them more and that makes it all worth it.

This week's appointment brought more good news as the boys keep growing. Clot is still there but doesn't seem to be causing problems. And things look stable enough that the doc said I can start going on some outings! So tomorrow we are stopping at Starbucks and then headed to the baby store to start planning this nursery. I have to do it from the comfort of the store wheelchair, not at all embarrassing, but at least I can leave the house. If all goes well with that, we can continue to add short seated things throughout the week. Still no lifting, no cleaning, etc, but it is a step forward! Yay! God is carrying us through this pregnancy, one step at a time.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

6 months

I can't believe 6 months has passed since we welcomed our daughter into this world and said goodbye. Six months since I laid eyes on her for the first and last time. Six months, to the minute, since I saw her empty chest and my life shattered. And though the pieces are slowly being put back together, the pain is just as fresh. All the time. I thought things would get to a point where they were getting easier. But it's more like my new normal, like I go through my days with a little piece of me missing. Sometimes it feels like a big piece, like how can I keep walking forward when my child is gone? I keep thinking I'm leaving her behind. And all I want to do is run as fast as I can in the other direction, back to her.

I continue to find peace in knowing she is in heaven, that we are going to see her again, that she is happy. And most of the time that helps so much. I can't imagine going through the pain without any hope in the future. But sometimes I just think I would do anything to see her again. Even if its not for long, I just want to wrap my arms around her and tell her how very much I love her. How special she is. And how much I miss her. Reagan was the most beautiful little girl I have ever laid eyes on, and I will never see that precious face again. Not the way she was. I close my eyes and try to picture her just as she looked when we said goodbye, so peaceful. I try to focus on the inexplicable joy we felt when holding her in the hospital. And she can still make me smile, no matter how hard them day or how much I hurt, when I remember our time together. I don't know if things will get easier from here, don't know that I will ever feel whole this side of heaven without her. Each milestone we miss, each birthday we can't celebrate, just brings up fresh pain and emptiness. I miss my baby girl.

Happy 6 months, Rea Rea. We love you with everything we have, always and forever.

Friday, April 26, 2013

18 weeks

So things here have continued very much the same. Days are blending together as each day is the same as the one before. I am working on all my crochet projects and now have several hats, booties, a sleep sack, and 2 little football helmets completed. I drink my tea outside each morning while it is still cool. And I have passed the half way point of reading the Bible out loud to the boys. We are officially in maternity clothes all the time (I realized this was necessary after burning a strip on my lower stomach one afternoon because I did not realize it was exposed to the sun...and had not seen the light of day since last summer) and they are finally starting to kick hard enough for me to feel. And that about sums up life right now.

We had our in depth anatomy ultrasound this week and everything checked out. All the organs are there and appear to be in working order. The boys are still growing strong, though our once petite baby B has overtaken his brother and is now in the 100 percentile. Savant genes are strong :). I have over a pound of baby in there now. I was hoping this would be the week when I would be released from house arrest, our OB seemed to think it was possible, but the specialist says no. No change in activity, no leaving the house, still modified bedrest. Sadness. 4-6 more weeks and then we will revisit the issue. That would make it 16 weeks of bedrest. I'm going to have to find another hobby. There are only so many things you can crochet while lounging around. Suggestions??



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Longing

I miss my daughter so much. Some days it is still so overwhelming. And it doesn't seem to take much to set things off again. Last week I ordered some maternity clothes. I was excited about it - first new clothes I have bought in months! But last time I ordered maternity clothes I only got to wear them for a few weeks, some not at all, and then she was gone. Just like that, no warning whatsoever. And so as soon as I hit the place order button, I regretted it. It was too familiar. And so I broke down. What will I do if these clothes just go into storage as well??

I joined a group, Hope Mommies (would definitely recommend it for any who have suffered a loss), and we are doing a Mother's Day card exchange with another mommy of the group. So this morning I get online to start looking for a card to send this woman, since I still can't go to a store, and no card will ever be right. I'm reading through all these cards and my heart is just breaking with all the words I will never hear from Reagan's tiny little mouth. I thought so many things would help make the pain of losing her less, but it seems to still be just as fresh. And I'll zoom in on the pictures we have of her to try to see her little profile more clearly, try to close my eyes and remember every detail of her face. Oh, how I long to be with my daughter for just a little longer. To hear her laugh. I know I will one day, it is just so hard to wait.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Glow

For the first time, since July of last year when morning sickness kicked in with Reagan, I am feeling the pregnancy glow. I woke up this morning and so far, no pain. No nausea. No fatigue. So this is what women talk about when they say the honeymoon period?? Looking back, I never had that with Reagan. As soon as I stopped wanting to vomit all day, I could hardly stay awake. And with my endo ripping free, there was considerable pain. It's amazing how when I think of her, I remember this intense love and joy well before the day to day symptoms. But I do remember always waiting for the glow...

And so here I am, sitting (yay!) outside on the front porch on the wicker furniture, feet propped up, drinking some tea and enjoying this gorgeous day. (Watching my poor hubby do all the yard work because I still can't do standing activities...darn) and I am just overcome. I am so thankful for these 2 little boys growing inside of me. I can't believe sometimes how much they have already gone through in their short little lives. And here we are, close to half way there, and they are just kicking away. I am finally accepting we are having boys. We were so excited when we were initially told it would be one of each. That's what I always said I wanted. But I think God knew we needed little boys as we continue to heal from our loss of our precious daughter. Another girl born so closely behind Reagan would only serve to remind us of what we missed even more than things already do. And so I am at peace with the boys, truly at peace and not just telling myself that, for the first time. Another answer to prayer. God has been so good to us during this pregnancy, teaching me things I know I would never have learned had all gone according to plan. Though I would never choose to walk this pregnancy path or wish the complications on anyone else, I am thankful for the time it has given me to prepare my heart for motherhood.

Friday, April 12, 2013

16 weeks and sitting

GREAT news from our appointment this week: I can begin sitting again. Not all day, not if I'm hurting, but being vertical is phenomenal. I forgot how nice it was to sit reclined and eat. And it sure does help with that heartburn. I get fatigued easily and probably haven't lasted even a full hour upright yet, but we are moving in the right direction. Praise God!

Our little boys are doing great, growing equal and having a blast in there. I have started feeling little flutter kicks again, though they are no where near as active as Reagan. Usually all I feel is when they decide to change positions and maybe do a flip in there. Entertaining to watch the mountain that has become my stomach go from a nice mound to a pointed triangle. And some days I would swear if I stared at the belly I could literally watch it grow. I am going to be huge! (Happily so)

This week I have tried my hand at being crafty. I found a great website of crochet patterns nod made these hats:



Friday, April 5, 2013

Boy oh boy

Things pretty much continue as they have been. Still on strict bed rest, still bleeding and in pain, but our little ones continue to grow strong, completely oblivious to the trauma around them. And at the last ultrasound they were measuring almost a week ahead of schedule. Which is wonderful since they'll be born early. The doctor confirmed this week: no meds to prevent clotting in the placenta as originally planned. Because it happened before, our risk of stillbirth doubles. And there is nothing we can do to try to prevent anything. Full trust in God is required. Not so sure I'm getting better at that just yet.

This week it was confirmed we are having 2 boys! I never pictured myself with boys. I know tea parties and dress up, not trucks and...see that, can't even think of what boys play with! I have so much to learn. I will desperately miss not being able to put a frilly pink dress on these babies, but I will love them all the same. Or do love them, so much already. They are getting so big as we watch them grow each week. And last time, "baby a" was getting more active. Little Andrew junior. And since they weren't cooperating for their weekly photo shoot, here's a belly update.



Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter and 5 months

Happy Easter! This is the first year we have truly understood Easter and the sacrifice God made by giving his son. How much he must love us! Because I would never have willingly given Reagan. Never. And I can now understand what it is like to lose a child. How much harder would it be to turn your back on your child, to put the full weight of the world's sin on his shoulders, knowing he would be going to hell?? I can't imagine that part. And for Jesus, to feel the shame and disgrace of every sin committed or going to be committed, to feel complete separation from your Father whom you walked with daily. Wow. Whole new understanding and appreciation this year. Because without this sacrifice, Reagan would not be dancing in heaven.

We were feeling so sad yesterday. Seems to hit with every holiday. As I lay in bed picturing Reagan wearing the most adorable Easter dress and having family dinner after church, I let myself get swept away into the self pity and despair, and sobbed. BUT, this holiday in particular should be a celebration for us. To know we now have eternity with our baby girl waiting for us. Reagan was always perfect in our eyes as she never cried, talked back, lied, etc. But we know she was sinful, even in the womb. And because Jesus died for her and was raised again, we will see her soon! So very thankful. And what kind of wonderful celebration they must be having in Heaven, praising God as they all better understand the sacrifice, as they have seen Jesus and walked with him. Reagan is missing nothing right now. We are, but she is having the most wonderful time. Nothing makes a mommy smile more than knowing that, no matter how painful it all still is.


Rea would have been 5 months today. Happy 5 months, precious girl. Mommy and Daddy love you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

2nd trimester!

Last Friday marked the beginning of the second trimester. With Reagan, the nausea relief hit one week later, so I am counting on feeling better tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed so I can start getting these babies the nutrients they need without wanting to gag.

This week brought more good news from the doctor. The ultrasound shows both babies growing well and measuring ahead of schedule. (They have their daddy's genes;) ). But this week it also showed the clot had shrunk! Less blood in the uterus will also mean less of the irritant that seems to cause me to cramp and contract. Yay! God is answering our prayers. I was discouraged all week because my symptoms seemed to be getting worse, but God was just getting rid of the clot. Which is exactly what we have prayed for. Or at least part of what we've prayed for. And the babies still look healthy, which is the best thing. Whew!

Second trimester is when we were supposed to start some preventative care to prevent another late pregnancy loss. We had a plan. Met with all the specialists before the transfer to map it all out. And now, none of it applies. The complications early have prevented all 3 of the doctors ideas. Yeah, God really wants us to trust him. Cause there is absolutely nothing the doctors can do anymore. And our risk of loss doubles because of Reagan. I'm not even sure what twins does to those odds. But I keep hearing that if it is God's plan for these twins to make it, then the odds are 100%, no matter how it looks on paper. As we pass the 20 week mark, I will need to hear that again.

So at this last ultrasound, we heard for the 3rd time that baby A is a boy. Three different doctors, same results. But this time, baby B appeared to be a boy as well, hmmm.... What on earth would I do with 2 boys?? How scary is that thought? I'll have to learn to play with balls and trucks and such. My personal Barbie and baby doll collection will render itself useless...