Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our Beautiful Day

Here is a brief look at some of the excitement surrounding Noah and Lillian's big day...

how to lose 35 pounds in a week

Try this amazing new diet plan! It really works!

Step 1: Give birth to twins.

Step 2: Pee. A lot.

In actual baby news, the jaundice is getting better! Lillian has been freed from her machine and is allowed to actually roam about the house, which is amazing. We keep laying her back in her crib after feedings, and she just looks at us, and suddenly we realize that she doesn't HAVE to go back to bed for 24 hours a day. So now I have to figure out what it is babies are supposed to do...

Noah's bilirubin levels were a tiny bit lower but still at a 14, so he gets to keep glowing. We're grateful that he hasn't gotten any worse though, and at the rate that he needs diaper changes, it shouldn't be long before he is released as well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

jaundice update and pictures

Just a quick update about the jaundice: The babies' bilirubin levels came back better today, which was quite a relief, even though they very well may bounce up again. Noah was a 14.4 and Lillian was a 12.6. The goal, again, is under 12. So... maybe tomorrow! I'm looking forward to taking our first walk with the babies, but that would be very difficult with those vacuum cleaner hoses. It helps motivate me to keep up with the extra feedings and supplementing with water.

And now for a few pictures. This is just a sampling of my favorites, but it's at least something to have up for now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

our yellow glow-babies

I'm not sure where I got the idea that I'd be able to keep up a blog with two babies, at least at the beginning. I thought this would be the best way to keep up with pictures, but I have fallen far behind. Scott has been SO good about posting pictures to facebook, though. You can see them here (even if you're not a member of facebook):

So instead of pictures, I will focus on updates. I canNOT believe it has already been five days, and ONLY been five days, since the babies were born! Probably because I have been awake during at least part of nearly every hour since. It's a weird sort of time warp, especially when experienced through sleep deprivation. Even though it's been a short while, a lot has happened--even if you don't count the dozens of feedings and diapers.

Most of what has happened, aside from Noah practicing EVERY single funny face imaginable (Lily found herself behind in the face-making department, and gave up), has to do with jaundice. For the babyless crowd, jaundice in babies is where they turn yellow because their liver has to learn to process bilirubin, and their poopers have to learn to get rid of it. Too much bilirubin = yellow baby. Jaundice has levels which are monitored in newborn babies, because if they get too high they can cause problems. When we left the hospital, Lillian was at a 12 and Noah was at a 10. I have no clue what these numbers mean except that 12 is about the highest they like to see, so she was borderline too high. Because of that, they had us go to the pediatrician the day after we were discharged, to have the levels checked again. Instead of going down, both had gone up--Lillian to a 13, and Noah to a 14. So the pediatrician ordered equipment to be brought to the house for phototherapy. (Sunlight helps the body process bilirubin, but because of the danger of sunburn they don't recommend you lay your newborn out by the pool.) Our bili "blankets" are soft, flat little paddles filled with fiber optic lights. They are connected with a hose to a box that makes the light. You have to wrap up the babies with their skin against the paddles, and the light helps them process bilirubin. Then they have a nurse come to the house to take the babies' blood.

So anyway, we got the paddles, and hooked up the kids. The tube that connects them to the machine is only a few feet long, which makes moving babies from place to place a really interesting endeavor. But they slept really well (for newborns!) last night, glowing faintly blue in their bassinets from their lights. Wrapped up in their blankets with their glowing blue lights, they remind me forcibly of the glowworm doll I had when I was little. Scott said it looks like we are raising young vacuum cleaners because of the tubes.

This morning the nurse came and took their blood (babies LOVE that, by the way), and we got the results this afternoon. Lily's level has stayed at a 13, which isn't good, but isn't bad. But Noah's level jumped to a 17.

Now what exactly is the problem with too much bilirubin? I hadn't really known, but my mom told me last night that if the levels get too high they can cause brain damage. So when we got the news, I went into a bit of new mommy freak-out mode. But after some highly scientific internet searching, we have found that the disorder that causes brain damage is extremely rare, and that bilirubin levels have to be a lot higher than Noah's are right now. We have also reasoned that, if they were really worried about his numbers, we'd be back in the hospital right now. They've told us to make sure he gets enough liquids, even to supplement water between feedings. Shockingly, Noah's not a big fan of water. I spent a tearful (my tears, not his) half hour dripping water down his mouth and gagging the poor child, before we talked to someone at the hospital again and they said that supplementing with more frequent feedings is just as effective as water. So as busy I have been with feedings, they are now going to come more often! But I'll gladly sacrifice some more sleep for better baby health.

So now we shall see... A nurse should come again tomorrow, and we should get another result--we're obviously hopeful it's much better. But until then, I'm grateful the doctor has acted so quickly and that every single other aspect of their birth and life so far has been so wonderful and good.

And now, I'm off to nurse a little yellow glow-baby... hope he's hungry!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

on abandoning the plan altogether

First things first: We have babies!! On the outside!

Last week it looked like I had gotten my wish... I returned to the doctor last Thursday afternoon for a non-stress test and ultrasound. Both babies were still head-down, still growing, and their heartbeats and things were just fine. I was also not having contractions during the non-stress test, which happened at about 2:30 pm. So we scheduled an induction date for the next Thursday morning. I got my plan after all! For the right day and everything!

And then about two hours later, I thought my sore back was getting awfully rhythmic with its pain. I started paying more attention, and I was pretty sure I was having regular contractions.

This was NOT in the plan. My last day of work was supposed to be Friday, and I still had things to wrap up! Especially a report that needed to be done, and pretty much needed to be done by me. So, pretty much in denial, I set about finishing my report, though I did start timing the contractions with a little online dealie.

... and about two hours after THAT, I finally finished the report and could no longer deny the fact that I was having regular contractions, about every 4 and a half minutes. (For the uninitiated, that's pretty dern fast.) I still was wary though--I did NOT want to drive all the way to the hospital for them to spend 3 hours figuring out that I was having false labor pains, only to drive back and have an extremely groggy last day of work.

And, you know, I was still in denial. Because -really! Babies? Today? No way. It was going to be next Thursday!
But we scurried around the house anyway, doing some last-minute cleanup and bag-packing. Because we were probably coming back, but JUST in case we didn't. We left for the hospital, with me still feeling pretty skeptical even as my back hurt worse and worse (denial is a powerful thing!).

Annndd, as by now you probably know, I was really in labor. Things went fairly well from that point on. I had an epidural and some pitocin about halfway through Thursday night, and never felt another contraction. Lillian Grace was born at 8:45 on Friday, May 22 after about half an hour of pushing. She weighed 5 lbs, 5 oz. She was very white and greasy-looking, and had a conehead, but not too bad of one. Once they wrapped her up in her baby burrito, she looked like an angry little munchkin (with greasy eyes):

Then the next battle was getting Baby B out. His job was to stay head-down and move into the birth canal without turning sideways or letting his cord get out ahead of him. He did that, but once he got his head about halfway into my pelvis he just quit moving. We tried pitocin, me pushing, and a couple periods of rest to see if he would make his way down, but nothing worked. After a couple of hours my doctor said there was no point waiting anymore--he was stuck, and even though his heartrate was fine, he just wasn't coming out on his own. She called a c-section.

An AMAZING amount of activity ensued. All of a sudden a blue screen was being put up in front of my face, and about 8 people were asking me questions at once. Can I feel that poking? How about that? What am I allergic to? Can I feel that? How about now? In my exhausted, emotional state, it was a bit overwhelming. My arms were held straight out to the sides (not sure why), and they started shaking really hard from the extra epidural medicine they were pumping in. Scott watched the whole bloody, gory mess--even got it on tape. All I really remember was shaking and chattering my teeth so hard that I had a headache, and being very confused about what was going on down there. And then they pushed and they pulled really hard in my stomach, and there was a very bloody baby with a very swollen forehead, and I was still really shaky and just wanted my head to stop hurting.

So Noah Taylor was born at 10:51 am and weighed 5 lbs, 2 oz. He wasn't any bigger than his sister, but he attacked my pelvis forehead-first and got stuck. (Hence the swollen forehead.)

It's amazing to think about how many updates and changes there have been since then. Basically, the babies are doing great--especially Noah. He's happy and nursing well, and stays in the room with us most of the time. Lillian developed "retractions"--basically her diaphragm and lungs were a little underdeveloped, and she kept breathing way too shallow and fast. So she has spent the last couple days in the NICU, mostly for monitoring and some antibiotics to ward off the possibility of pneumonia. It actually hasn't been too bad to have her in there, because we know she's not very sick and it's nice to have the chance to adjust to one baby at a time. But she gets out of there soon--either tonight or tomorrow morning--and it will be VERY nice to have everybody together for the first time. And it will be even nicer to get home, and begin a whole new kind of normal.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

on the growing possibility of becoming un-pregnant

It still doesn't feel like it can be real, but time appears to be growing short for these kiddos in their murky little home. At the moment my brain is fuzzy and it feels easier to explain in list form:

1. I've been told for some time that the babies wouldn't be allowed to overstay their welcome past 38 weeks. I am now 36 1/2 weeks.

2. Apparently, "past 38 weeks" means "past the second I get to 38 weeks" instead of "the week-ish that I hit 38 weeks". Since the twinkies have gone head-down, this will likely mean either natural labor or induced labor by Friday, May 29.

3. That is 10 days from today.

4. Last week (5 days ago, to be exact) the doctor checked my nether regions and things were rather unexciting. This led me to envision, even expect and plan, that I would have a planned induction the week of Memorial Day.

5. I like plans. I like them a lot. I therefore began to refine the plan:

a. Memorial Day (Monday) is a holiday. They don't schedule babies on holidays, so it would have to be after that.

b. Labor can take a long time. Why would the hospital schedule something that takes a long time on a Friday, when it could run into the weekend? So Friday was probably out.

c. Scott is working baseball games for extra moolah lately, and his last game is Wednesday. It would be a shame to miss extra moolah, right? So it would be best not to have the babies on Tuesday or Wednesday.

d. Thursday is the only choice left; therefore, we must have babies next Thursday. Q.E.D.

6. I went to the doctor this afternoon, expecting another uneventful screening of my non-public parts. And then a nice little discussion of when to schedule the induction, which would end with a nice little schedule for sometime on Thursday. Maybe in the morning, when the sunlight is prettiest. But not too early, and then I could sleep in a little. I thought maybe they'd even give m a nice little appointment card with the time to go to the hospital.

7. Apparently the babies have decided that next Thursday sounds awfully far away. They are cramped and stuffy, and may not want to put up with the view of my abdominal cavity for that long. One of the babies has gone so far as to get his/her head "engaged", which means they're as far south as they can go without actually coming out.

8. To top it off, my doctor thought she would manually "stimulate my prostaglandins" (these are hormones or chemicals that begin labor) and help things along.

9. I do NOT like having prostaglandins stimulated. I realize that there are likely far more uncomfortable sensations in my near future. I probably won't like those either.

10. And in short, I am on "high alert" for having babies. They may come next Thursday. They may come this Thursday. They may come before breakfast tomorrow. Does this bother anyone else??? I had a PLAN! It was a NICE plan!! But now, even if they follow my plan, it won't even matter because I'll have spent the intervening week and a half in a constant state of anticipation. I need to have a talk with Scott--we have GOT to figure out a way to get these kids under control--otherwise, who knows what kind of teenagers they will turn out to be?

So, I am waiting. Still, again, whatever. I have an appointment in 2 days to monitor the babies for awhile and make sure their little hearts and stuff are good to go before labor.

IF I haven't had them by then. (!!!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

on growing a trifle weary

So I looked at the last post, which was a month ago. And it says something about being in the home stretch... boy, was that statement a little premature! No wonder it feels like I've been pregnant forever, if I've felt almost-done for such a long time!

People keep asking me if I'm ready. Which is a hard question to answer, really. Am I ready to be done being pregnant? Absolutely. I have been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Am I ready to be a mother? Twice?? Heavens, no! But I don't think I ever will be, so I feel like I might as well get started as not.

I am more than ready to shed the status of extreme popularity that seems to have befallen me lately. I never knew how much I relished my life of relative anonymity--but I've decided I really, really like not being noticed! At least, sometimes! Lately I can't walk past a single person (absolute strangers included) without getting some kind of comment, if not an outright conversation about my stomach. It's as if I am wearing a billboard that says, "Hey, I'm pregnant! You're the first person to notice! Ask me when I'm due! Ask me if it's a boy or a girl! Ask me if I'm happy to be having twins! Most of all, ask me what their names are--and then get offended when I don't tell you! And if you really want extra points, give me unfounded 'medical' advice so that I can go freak out and look it up on the computer until I'm reassured you don't know what you're talking about!"

Ah, well. It'll be over soon. I'm sure everyone will ignore me again once I'm toting two cute babies around...!

Okay, enough whining. Now for an update on the particulars. We went to the last scheduled ultrasound last Wednesday, the 6th. Both babies were hovering around 5 lbs each, which is good. Even better, they have stayed pretty equal the whole time, so there's no need to worry that one is getting more nutrition than the other, and there's no need to keep monitoring their growth with ultrasounds. If they keep growing fairly normally, they should weigh around 6 1/2 pounds at 38 weeks. The other important update is that they have both turned from breech position to head-down. So... no c-section, or at least not a scheduled one. The plan at this point is that I will just wait to go into labor and we'll see what happens. (This seems incredibly unnerving to me--I didn't realize how much I was looking forward to having a nice, scheduled event. How do people just wait for babies to arrive?!) If I haven't gone into labor by 38 weeks (May 29), we will schedule an induction. But once I'm in labor or getting induced, they'll do another position check to make sure they haven't flipped or shifted too much.

So... down to waiting. I am still working, mainly because they pay me and it mostly involves sitting on my bum, which no one pays me for when I'm at home. I'm going to try and stick out another couple of weeks, so we'll see!

Oh--and the babies have hair!