Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Twins.... At home.... Now what!?

I believe bringing home a baby is an adjustment for anyone. For a first time mom and dad, it can be a BIG adjustment! BUT.... with two, that is an understatement! HA! Bringing home one baby and leaving one was an extremely hard thing to do, but it also gave John and I the ability to get used to having a baby at home before there were TWO at home! :)
The NICU did an excellent job of getting our girls used to sleeping with noise around them and in rooms that are not completely dark. They also had these ladies on a routine that helped John and I tremendously when we brought them home.
One major adjustment that we dealt with was not having the monitors to tell us what our babies were doing. We were very fortunate that our girls came home wireless (with no monitors),but we grew accustomed to being able to see that how fast our girls were breathing, what their oxygen levels were, and what their heart rates were.
Sticking to a routine was key in caring for 2 babies! John and I would prepare all of their bottles and stick them in the fridge for easy handling when needed. We kept a log of when the babies ate, how much they ate, when they slept, and when they went to the bathroom. We had a little assembly line of things we needed to give baths, get diapers changed, change clothes, etc. Being organized like this made it easier for me to care for the girls by myself when John was at work.
One of the things that we did a couple of weeks after we came home was get newborn photos taken. While they girls were not newborns, they were still smaller than most newborns were and still hadn't hit their due date! Charlotte came home weighing 4lbs 13oz and Aubrey came home weighing 4lbs 2oz. Our photographer did an amazing job and even found a box with our last name on it to use as a prop to pose my sweet angels in!

Month 1-NICU Stay

Charlotte and Aubrey's 1 month picture (Charlotte at home, Aubrey at the hospital)

Our first family picture

The girls at 1-1/2 weeks old

Holding Aubrey for the first time 8/26/11

Holding Charlotte for the first time 8/24/11

The first month of the girls' lives was a whirlwind for us! We were trying to get used to the fact that we had two beautiful daughters that made it (Praise God!) and learning the ins and outs of the NICU. Seeing your babies for the first time with wires all of over them in a setting where machines are beeping, nurses are busy tending to babies all around you and your own, was an experience in its own! I think I cried everytime I went into the NICU to see them for the first 4 days! Once we understood that all of the wires were there to help with monitoring the baby's heart rate, breathing, etc. it made it much easier!
After four days of recuperation time in the hospital, they sent me home. What a bittersweet feeling! After 55 days in the hospital, I was ready to see my home again and sleep in my own bed, but leaving my babies was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do! Thanks to family and some great friends, I had rides up to the hospital every day for the first two weeks when I couldn't drive! I would go up to the hospital late morning and John would come after work to see our sweet girls and just to be there at their bedside.
The girls spent 11 days in the Level 3 NICU. Once they were able to breathe on their own without the CPAP, they moved them on! On August 30th, they were downgraded to Level 2..... what a joyous day! This meant me were one step closer to going home! It was a little bit trickier in the Level 3 NICU to spend time with our girls! They were in two separate pods so our time was split between the two of them. Once they were moved to Level 2, Charlotte and Aubrey were put together! They even had their own little "room" for a while. They section the girls were put in was a little crowded, so they put them in an overflow room that was just for them! It was so nice to spend time with them there with no one around except a nurse when I needed her.
Once moved to Level 2 and the girls had their breathing down, the next step was to get their PICC lines taken out! What a great day that was! Less wires to have to maneuver around to hold my girls! Then moving on to bottles..... There are many things that a baby has to do before being discharged from the hospital. Taking all 8 of their bottles is one of the big ones! On September 5th, Charlotte got to try her first bottle. They gave them 20 minutes to drink the bottle and what is not finished is given through their NG tube. The nurse warned me not to get my hopes up, as usually the first time a baby tries it, they usually don't finish. Charlotte proved her wrong! She scarfed that thing down in less than 20 minutes! As the babies do well with and finish their feedings, they give them more bottle feedings each day.
Aubrey was having some breathing issues and put on a nasal canula for a bit. She got to have her first bottle a dew days later on September 8th! She wasn't too keen on finishing it, but showed us she knew how to do it! HA!
We were extremely lucky as our girls didn't have any real concerning health issues while in the NICU. Overall, they were very healthy, just early! The struggles they encountered were those that would be expected for a preemie born at 32 weeks. They were there to learn how to breath, eat, and hold their own body temperature.
On September 13th, after 24 days away from home, Charlotte Ruth got to home! I just thought it was hard leaving the the babies at the hospital when I came home! Taking one home and leaving one behind was absolutely horrible! I was overjoyed that I was getting to bring my baby home, but felt so guilty about leaving Aubrey there. With the help of friends and family, I was able to go visit Aubrey each day and be there to help feed her! I cried each time leaving my baby at home with someone else, and cried each time I left the hospital leaving one to go be with the other. FINALLY, on September 22, after 33 days away from home, I was able to walk out of the NICU for the final time with both of my babies!
Although the NICU experience is not one I would wish for anyone, I look back and think how blessed my entire family is for the NICU staff we grew to know and love! The girls had wonderful doctors that used their knowledge and expertise to do what was best for them. They also had amazing nurses that truly loved them and cared about what was happening to my girls!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Playing catchup

Hello there! Well I have a lot to catch up on.... The past four months have seemed to fly by! It is hard to believe that these wee little girls have become the big girls they are now! Stay tuned for more posts!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Bonner MoMos!

Waiting to go the OR

John hanging out waiting to come to the OR

We were so excited to meet our little girls

Here comes Ms. Charlotte

And out comes Ms. Aubrey

The cords....

Graphic I know but these girls are little miracles!

John and little Aubrey

Getting Charlotte all settled in

Holding Aubrey's hand when I got to see them in NICU for the 1st time

Charlotte chilling out in the NICU

Happy birthday to my dear sweet little girls Aubrey Belle and Charlotte Ruth! It is so hard to believe that the day we have been patiently waiting for was finally here! On August 19th, Charlotte was born at 6:30pm weighing 4lbs 16-1/2 in long and Aubrey at 6:31pm weighing 2lb15oz 15-1/4 in long.

The c-section went well and the doctor and nurses were amazed at the twisting and knotting of the girls' cords. The girls were shown to us and then taken out to be assessed. John was able to go with them and see them as they got them stabilized. After being with the girls, he met me in the recovery room. My stay in the recovery room that was supposed to be an hour ended up lasting almost 5 hours due to my blood pressure. While I was in the recovery room, the girls were brought down to see me before heading to the NICU. Aubrey was breathing on her own at first and headed up to the Level 2 NICU. After a short while of labored breathing, she was put on a CPAP and brought to Level 3 NICU with sister. Charlotte and Aubrey are both on CPAPs to help them breathe. They are in the Level 3 NICU right now. They are eating and breathing getting stronger every day.

Of course, we want to see our girls get better everyday, but know that it is a roller coaster. There will be good days and bad days with Charlotte and Aubrey. This entire pregnancy has certainly been a learning experience for John and I. It has helped us grow together as a family and rely on each other even more. Our family of 2 has grown to a family of 4. We could not be happier and more in love with these girls.

There are so many people out there rooting for us. We have family, friends, and even people we don't even know praying and thinking about us. We appreciate all of it and am amazed at all of the support we have had! THANK YOU!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Countdown to D-Day

We had our weekly ultrasound yesterday and got to see our little girls! Our little porker Charlotte is weighing 4lbs 8oz and Aubrey is slowly but surely catching up to her sister weighing 3lbs. We were so happy to see that there was growth with both of them.

My blood pressure has been high this week, but nothing too out of control! They have been closely monitoring it checking it multiple times during the day. I have some edema in my back, which is common for fluid to rest there for those that are on bed rest, and minor headaches. The first 24-hr urine analysis came back kind of high with protein. They requested I do another one which also showed the same thing.

After speaking with our doctor and looking at the ultrasound, he decided to go ahead and take the babies TOMORROW! With the difference in their weights getting greater and the other signs of pre-eclampsia that I have been having, we have decided now is the time. Tomorrow we will meet our 32 week mark and we will meet our baby girls! 32 weeks has been our goal all along and feel so fortunate that we are going to meet it.

What a journey this has been! Today is Day 50 in the hospital and it is hard to believe that it has been that long. We are so excited yet anxious to get them here safe and sound! My c-section is scheduled for 6pm I only have a few more good meals left until clear liquids for a while. :)

I will be sure to post many pictures as soon as I can of Aubrey and Charlotte!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 47

Slowly but surely we are getting there.... We have had quite a weekend!

On Friday evening during our monitoring session, I started having contractions. It is normal for me to have 1-2 during monitoring, but I had 7 in less than an hour and I could actually feel them (I haven't felt them when I have them before). They gave me a shot of Terbulatine to stop the contractions. They will usually give up to 3 of these shots, but one did the trick for me! My nurse that night, which is ironically named Charlotte, warned me that I may feel my heart race due to the medicine. Boy did I! My hands shook as well as my legs! It made me feel so weird! Since Friday, we have had no issues with contractions or irritability. Cross your fingers that it stays that way!

Over the past week, we have watched my blood pressure slowly rise. I usually run pretty low, and it has steadily gone up since we have been here. On Saturday, the doctor on call requested my blood to be taken to check on my liver enzymes as well as doing a 24-hour urine collection to check for protein. These are early signs of pre-eclampsia. I have no other symptoms such as swelling, blurry vision, headaches, etc. other than high blood pressure. The blood came back negative, but we are still waiting to hear about the urine analysis.

I have been laying on my side throughout the day and really trying hard to be still (which you know is SO hard for me) to keep my blood pressure under control. We are so fortunate to have doctors and nurses that are monitoring me and the babies and being extra cautious!

John had to go back to work today.... SO sad for me! I have been so used to him being here and although it is not that far away, I still wish he was here with me. I have text him updates so far today and will continue as I know it is just as hard for him to be away too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 42

Our wall of fame! We have had so many visitors! I still don't get pictures of everyone that comes but the majority of them...I can't help it if I forget! :) All of the nurses and staff that come in love to look at the pictures and decorations in my room!

What a great week we have had so far! Days are filled with visitors and we have received so many thoughtful words and cards from family and friends. The nurses here on staff have become our family. They are all so kind and take such wonderful care of me, the girls, AND John! They truly care about us and are rooting for these little ladies to stay cooking as long as they can! HA!

Our weekly scan was done yesterday and definitely gave us some relief. Aubrey hasn't been gaining much weight over the past couple of weeks and this week she proved that she is catching up to her sister! Aubrey weighs 2lb 13oz and Charlotte weighs 3lb 6oz. The doctor was happy with their weights and especially their cords! There was no tightness with the cords and my fluid looked good. At this rate, we may even make it 34 weeks!