Thursday, October 8, 2015

NICU Day 2 and Day 3

Day Two in the NICU

None of these blogs are going to be the most beautifully written but I wanted to keep some kind of a log of the babies' progress. Day two was a hard day in that I was still in a lot of pain from the c-section but thankfully was able to spend more time in the NICU with the babies this day.  Early in the day I was able to meet one of their respiratory therapists.  The RT comes at least every six hours to assess them and will come more frequently as needed.  They attempted to bring down the babies cpap but they weren't ready so they were brought up again. The babies also get assessments done every three hours by the nurses. This includes things like temperature, blood pressure, diaper changes, overall vitals, etc.  They also change their positions during that time and put them in a special swaddle holder.  The nurse told me that it was created to feel more like an amniotic sac so they feel like they are still in the womb. Eventually they will get to be in a regular swaddle at some point.  At certain times during the day the nurses rehang their fluids. During that time it has to be a sterile environment so cap, gloves, and mask for anyone around, me included.   The babies also get fed every 3 hours.  I can't remember what their exact feed measurements were on this day but one of their first feeds was only 4 mls- that is one small snack! One kinda funny moment this day (but also terrifying for me as a mom) was when Kate forgot to breathe for a bit. Her alarm went off and a couple of nurses came right over and one of them ended up giving her a spanking on her diaper and that jolted her back into breathing again! Obviously your child not breathing is never funny but it was a little humorous to see that tiny baby get a spanking lol. The alarms can be a little unnerving at first.  Any time a baby on the hall has an alarm go off (and this happens VERY frequently)  every other baby's monitor on the NICU hall alerts the nurses. This means that you are constantly hearing alarms and glancing up to see if it is your baby going off. It is reassuring to know that the babies are being monitored so closely.  Normally the nurses are supposed to only take care of two babies per shift but sometimes it is stretched to three or four based on how crowded the NICU is and how many nurses are scheduled. 

They try hard to keep their charts updated and current. 
They are weighed every night
The babies had both started photo therapy for jaundice issues
Just a little sunbathing...
Sweet little hand 
Whoever this is worked his/her way out of the swaddle bed
I confess I cannot tell them apart in pictures when their faces are covered. So sorry Andrew and Kate! 
I was excited that Shannon was able to come see me 
She got to meet the babies for a minute
Later that day we got to see some of our favorite people.  David, Greer, and Georgia as well as Whitney and Rod all came to visit.  Our siblings were so fantastic with helping us.  David (after driving all the way the day before as well) came again this day to stay for the weekend.  He and Greer took care of the boys and did all sorts of fun things with them.   Whitney and Rod left after work and drove super late to NC with Davis.  The next morning my mom dropped the boys off at the Holland's house and they kept them entertained for the day.  They also got my prescriptions filled and did all kinds of other things to help out. We are so thankful for all of them!  It also did me so much good to know that James and Harrison were having so much fun with their aunts and uncles while I couldn't be with them.  

This cutie was one of my favorite hospital visitors!
I can't believe Whitney and I have babies only four months apart!
And Georgia has two more cousins less than a year younger than her- so fun!

Greer meeting the babies for the first time 
I know they will love their Tia 

Unfortunately I wasn't there when Whitney and Rod met them for the first time. I was still really limited in how many trips I could make to the NICU and how long I could stay up and on my feet.

Late that night my dad came by to visit again
One of the highlights of my day- the nurse let me give Kate her paci! It was the first thing that I got to do for her that felt kind of like a normal mothering moment
We got to see her for a minute while they were changing her cpap 
Then she had to get her sunglasses back on, lol 
Getting bundled up again
The other highlight of my day is the nurse let me lift her up when she was changing her bed
It wasn't exactly getting to hold her but it was better than nothing!
Day 3
Both babies were dropping some weight which is normal

Getting a snack via the feeding tube 

Having Ryan with me through this has been wonderful for many reasons but I have been especially thankful for his medical knowledge.  He has been able to explain a lot of things to me and he is also very comfortable in hospitals and around all the medical equipment, etc.  It's very reassuring when things are beeping or alarms are going off or seeing them give another type of medicine for him to talk me through it all.

I think my dad's hand is bigger than the baby!

Looking relaxed this morning

It was so good to see Meredith and Mrs. Edwards! 
Visiting with Aunt Whitney 
One thing that was really hard about this day was that I was discharged.  In the past I couldn't wait to get out of the hospital. I only stayed 24 hours with Harrison because I was so ready to get home. This time was different. I didn't want to leave because leaving meant I left the babies. Instead of being a walk down the hallway I was going to be much further away and not able to get to them easily.  After delaying the inevitable Ryan and I finally got in the car to leave.  I couldn't help but remember the other times we left the hospital after having the boys. How exciting it was to dress James and Harrison up in their special coming-home outfits.  The pictures.  Loading the car seat.  Pulling into the driveway and the excitement of being home, showing them their rooms, cuddles on the couch.  All things that weren't going to be happening this time, at least not anytime soon. Ryan looked at me in the car and said, "It sure feels different this time around." Needless to say that got the waterworks started.  Leaving the hospital after giving birth without a baby/babies was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I can't imagine how painful it must be for parents who have lost a baby and who never get that special homecoming day.  We made it to the Hollands house where I was very excited to get to spend some time with the boys as well as Whitney, Rod, and Davis as we celebrated Pop's birthday.  As I sat there on the couch I felt this huge void, that something was missing. I realized even though the babies were only a couple of days old, even though I had not even held them yet, they already felt like part of our family and the void I was feeling was because they needed to be there.

  Later that night I got ready for bed.  I took off all my jewelry because no jewelry is allowed in the NICU. I figured if we were going to be there for weeks I might as well get ready.  I traded my wedding rings for the babies hospital ID bracelets that I am required to wear until their discharge.  I got out my diaper bag and slowly unpacked it. I took out the special coming home outfits that I had packed realizing that they won't fit in them for a really long time. I unpacked the blankets, extra clothes, etc. and then repacked it with what I would need in order to stay in the NICU for the entire next day.  And I cried. It was really hard, to realize that the reality of what we were dealing with was so different that what we had hoped for and dreamed of.  The reality of knowing that these babies' stories were going to be so different than that of my boys.  The bitterness of knowing these are my last kids and that this was not the way things were supposed to go.  Instead of cuddles and rocking them to sleep that night in their nursery at home they were in the intensive care unit, unable to be held or kissed or fed or even breathe completely on their own.  It was just a really hard night.  

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