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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life in the NICU



First off, let me apologize for not updating sooner. I have been continuing to heal while also trying to spend plenty of time with our twins in the NICU, which has equaled complete exhaustion. Another EA twin mommy said that she kind of "checked out of life" while her babies were in the NICU. That is exactly how I feel right now...life is not normal and other than knowing that the South Carolina Gamecocks won the CWS last night (only bc Aaron is a Gamecock fan), I have no clue what else is going on with the world!

Abel had an infection last week which was treated with antibiotics and is thankfully gone now. He still continues to struggle with digestion. The doctors have tried several hypoallergenic formulas and he just hasn't done well with any of them. The doctor explained that preemies should still be feeding off of my nutrients in the womb and some preemies just have problems digesting for awhile. He is still getting some nutrients from IV fluids which has caused a lot of water retention and swelling. He has been taking Lasix (a diuretic) for the past few days to decrease his swelling. We are slowly working on feeding him (he is currently only taking 6 mLs per feeding) and praying he will digest, while also teaching him how to suck a bottle. At this point, we have no clue when he will be able to come home. If he would start digesting his food, he would be making steps towards discharge, so please pray for his digestion. He currently weighs 5 lbs 5.5 oz. And this baby boy LOVES to be held and talked to...he will cry in his isolette, but as soon as someone takes him out and holds him, he is so content! I think he is going to be our cuddle bug. :)

Belle is being a show-off to her brother. She is taking 40 mLs per feeding and half of her feedings are bottles rather than her feeding tube. She was also moved out of her isolette on Monday night and has maintained her body temperature. The nurses said that she is making steps towards coming home soon (Lord willing)! Once she is taking all of her feedings by bottle, she will be ready for discharge! She currently weighs 4 lbs 8.3 oz. While she likes being held, she could take it or leave it...meaning, that she is content in our arms or on her own in her open hospital crib.

All in all, both babies are doing well for being born at 31 weeks and we are so grateful to God for His kindness towards our new little family!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pictures of Belle!

I didn't get to hold Abel this afternoon because he was having a PICC line inserted to replace his IV. But, I got some great pictures with Belle and hope to have some more of Abel soon! The first one is obviously with Mommy and the second one is with Mimi (my mom).





Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm Home!

I was discharged from the hospital yesterday evening - it was glorious! After being there for 11 days, I was very ready to come home. The 2nd surgery was the result of the c-section the day prior. Apparently, the doctor had to cut through a thick vein to get one of the babies out. When he closed me up on Saturday, it was dry and there was no bleeding. Within a few hours though, it popped and caused some major internal bleeding and it took awhile for them to find out where I was bleeding. Sunday was a very scary day - all of my vital signs were dropping and I felt lifeless. Thank you for everyone who prayed! God heard your prayers on my behalf. I'm still not completely well...still getting over preeclampsia with high blood pressure and excessive swelling and just recovering from the pain and soreness of two surgeries. So, please forgive me if I am not commenting on your blog posts right now. I have read everyone's and am up to date but am just still very weak and tired.

Abel and Belle are doing well. The neonatologist wouldn't let Abel feed Thursday or Friday because his tummy was showing some distress and not digesting well. However, things have improved and they resumed his feedings today! I felt so awful for him, knowing he must have been so hungry. I did try pumping while in the hospital and could never get anything but a few drops of colostrum. The nurse practitioner in the NICU encouraged me that my body has been through a lot and may not produce milk well due to the illnessses I'm still healing from. So, I think we are back to our original plan of formula. I would have loved to give them the extra antibodies in breastmilk, but it's just not there. I've been enjoying Kangaroo Care with them and hope to post some new pictures of them soon. It is hard leaving them in the NICU, but I'm thankful for modern medicine and how God uses it to care for preemies.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Plodding along,.. but very blessed!

The past two days have been up and down with Jennifer, but we seem to be making some progress. Jenn's hemoglobin levels dropped again, not as substantial as before, but enough that the doctors decided to transfuse two more bags of blood last night. This morning, her blood tests showed strong numbers so she's not due to be tested again until tomorrow morning.

This morning, the doctor actually referenced her being discharged whenever her blood pressure stabilizes and when more of the fluid that she's carrying dissipates. While this still make take a few days, it was good to hear of the concept that we won't be living in a hospital forever. Today marked a week and a day that she's been in hospital care.

Jenn was been taken off her IV's and is working on walking some today. I, instead of a nurse, has been able to wheel her around, and today I got to take her to visit the babies and have some kangaroo care with them. At around midnight last night, Jenn feel asleep and so I went over to the NICU to hold the babies for the first time. This was one of the most precious moments of my life. I got to do kangaroo care (holding them skin to skin) for 30 minutes with each one. They responded very well to this and seemed to enjoy it very much. I prayed over each one as I held them. The babies felt so cozy and the room so warm and quiet, that I actually started to doze off at the end of Abel's holding. The nurse came by and asked, "Who's putting who to sleep here?"

Today Jennifer got to do the same for Abel and I held Belle. Since this was Jenn's first time getting to hold one of them, the nurse allowed us to go about 45 minutes. I think that Jenn is going to try to get over again tonight to hold Belle, but she's been so tired from the pain medications, we're just playing it by ear.

Please continue to pray that Jennifer will be able to come home soon. The babies continue to do great. Other than being small, they look as healthy as can be. Hopefully, Jennifer will be back soon to be able to pick up the posts.

-Aaron

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Scary 24 Hours - Update

Thanks for all of your prayers and please continue. It has been a very scary 24 hours. Jennifer was losing blood rapidly and we couldn't find out the cause. Many of her stats were falling along with this and she was getting very pale. After an ultrasound and a ct scan, it was discovered that she had been bleeding internally and had a large blood clot. She had to go back into surgery where they were able to use the same incision to operate. They removed the clot and located and stopped the leaker. They also transfused her with four bags of blood. Jenn is now in the surgery ICU and will be monitored throughout the night and into tomorrow. Hopefully, this was the cause of the issues that she was having and we will see her stats improve. Already, her hemoglobin levels have increased and the color is returning to her face. Things are looking better, but please pray. Today was so scary.

Both babies continue to do great! We just need to get mommy better.

-Aaron

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Abel and Belle are born!!!

Abel and Belle's birthday is June 4th, 2011! Abel was born at 3lbs, 10oz; Belle at 3lbs, 1oz. Both are in the NICU and doing great! When I left the hospital to pick up some clothes for tonight they were both breathing on their own. Jennifer is very tired, but is doing well. She did have to have a Cesarean section.

Jenn had a rough time last night. She developed, we think, some fluid in her lungs around 3:00am which had to be treated. We were told early this morning to expect the delivery to begin around late morning/early afternoon. Abel and Belle were born at 11:55 and 11:56am respectively.

In a really neat act of providence, a couple from our church was admitted to the hospital the same day as us and were put in the next room. She also delivered today an hour before us, so our church has three babies' births to announce tomorrow.

I know that there are a lot of details that everyone wants to hear that I'm leaving out, but I've been up for some time now and am having trouble remembering more than this. We'll update more info soon. In the meantime, please check out the below photos of the two babies who have stolen my heart...

Baby Pictures!



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tentative Plan

This is Jennifer's sister Grace posting an update. The doctor came today and explained where things are headed, which was her second steroid shot today for lung development, softening her cervix tomorrow, and induction on Saturday. The doctors still want to try a vaginal birth since both babies are head down, but that can go two different ways: 1) Jennifer handles induction, labor, & birth to babies easily or 2) because she is only 31 weeks, her body may not labor well enough to birth this early. So they are fully prepared for a C-section if necessary.

As you all know, Jennifer was not planning to breast feed. If the babies had been born closer to term, formula would have been the way Jennifer would have gone. However, the neonatologist recommended trying to breast feed since the babies are premies at 31 weeks and strongly need the antibodies. She and Aaron are trusting the neonatologist's expertise and are willing to throw their plan out for the sake of their babies. Her plan is to try to breast feed and see where that goes.

Please pray for Jennifer and the babies' health during preeclampsia, safe delivery, and for the babies continued growth in the NICU. Also, that breast feeding would go better than she was anticipating. Aaron and Jennifer are trusting God's plan in this and are both excited and nervous about the days ahead.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Preeclampsia

Yesterday we had a scheduled appointment with our OB where Jennifer turned out some very high blood pressure results. A combination of that, a lot of swelling and the presence of protein in her urine was enough for the midwife who was seeing her to admit her to the hospital. After being their for 24 hours, it was determined that she has severe preeclampsia. We were told that 300mg of protein is an indicator of preeclampsia. Jenn had over 6000mg.

She is being monitored closely and we have been told that the babies will probably be delivered very soon - we are thinking by the end of this week. She was given a steroid injection today to bolster the babies' lung development in preparation for premature birth. We were told that the babies can be induced after 48 hours of that injection. She's also being hooked up to an IV and made to lay on her side permanently.

Abel and Belle continue to look great. They we be at 31 weeks tomorrow and will most likely be in the NICU for around a month. They did give us a quick tour of the NICU tonight and it is very nice. This particular hospital has separate rooms for each baby, or a double room for two babies in our case along with a recliner or pull out bed. This makes it very quiet and private. The doctors also said that because of the position of the babies, Jenn may be able to deliver vaginally and avoid a Cesarean section.

I'll try to sneak another update in as things progress and as I have time.

-Aaron