Saturday, September 26, 2009

long story, the anti climactic finale

After MJ's volcanic spit up episode, we left for the ER. We got there at 10:06, why I remember that, I don't know. The waiting room was packed-- standing room only. It was like walking into a cesspool of mucus and blood. Thankfully they were great about getting us into triage quickly, but then the waiting game began. They were nice enough to let us wait in an unused triage room until we went to the actual ER area so the babies weren't too exposed to all of the TB and swine flu floating around but it was still very scary to have such small babies being in such close proximity to so much nastiness. We finally got to a "room" about an hour and a half after we got there. I took up residence in the only chair in our little room and proceeded to feed a baby, and then the other, and then the first one again, and then the other... and time kept passing and my butt kept getting more and more numb.

There we were, 2 completely sleep deprived parents, trying desperately to keep the babies happy while staying awake and trying not to be totally pissed off that we had been waiting for what seemed like forever and had yet to even have a doctor poke their head through the curtain. Finally, after 5 hours I got angry and went to see what the heck was going on. Apparently someone decided it would be a great idea to drive their car in front of a train so most of the doctors were called to that trauma and the other doctors were seeing the other patients. 4 day old preemie throwing up blood? Not a priority. As we hit hour 6 of waiting, we decided to we had enough and were going to leave. I didn't want to wait any longer only to have an ER doctor to tell us MJ was fine and to follow up with our pediatrician in the morning. We already had a scheduled appointment with our doc at 10 that morning, so it wasn't even worth waiting anymore.

After getting about an hour of sleep, we took the girls to their appointment. The doctor wasn't really concerned about the blood in MJ's spit up (he figured it was probably blood she had swallowed during the delivery) but she had lost almost a pound from her birth weight and the doctor decided she needed to be admitted to the hospital to get her fluids and put her under the lights for her jaundice. Because our doctors don't have privileges at our hometown hospital, we had to decide if we wanted to go be admitted to a hospital where our doctors had privileges and could do a direct admit, which meant being at a hospital over an hour away from our house, or going back to the hospital where they were born, and where we had just left 6 hours earlier. That meant we would have to go BACK to the ER to be admitted. Not wanting to spend anymore time in the ER, we chose to go to the hospital over an hour away, figuring we'd only be there a couple of days, at the most.

Well, those couple of days ended up being 2 full weeks. The first few days we were there, MJ was put under the lights and was given IV nutrients. On the third day we were there, A was weighed and found that she, too, had dropped a pound from her birth weight, so she was also admitted. Both babies were given feeding tubes through their nose and we proceeded to embark on a strict feeding schedule for them. Every 3 hours they were to be fed, every other time through the feeding tube. They were "allowed" to eat from the bottle for 20 minutes for the feeds that weren't given through the tube. After those 20 minutes, whatever was left would be given through the tube. The idea was to make it so they didn't expend more calories than they were taking in, which was the problem with them actually breastfeeding.

So this meant I got to become best friends with the breast pump. There were 7 pumps on the floor, all named after the Seven Dwarfs. I got Doc, although there were many days that I should have had Grumpy or Sleepy. Every 2 hours I was to pump, and pump and pump. Most days I ended up pumping 1 out of every 2 hours. Lather, rinse, repeat. And with all the pumping came all of the pain. Within 2 days I had a raging case of mastitis that were caused by plugged ducts. And then came the milk blisters that were so bad even the Lactation Consultant cringed when she saw them. I ended up having to drive all the way back to see one of my doctors (not the one who delivered the babies) only to have him tell me that it didn’t look “that bad” and that I should just put Desitin on my breasts and they would heal right up. WHAT?! Worst. Advice. Ever.

I seriously started to feel like I was a vending machine and all I was good for was dispensing milk for the babies. Everyone else seemed to be making all of the decisions for M and me about our kids. It was so frustrating being told what I could and couldn't do with my babies and being told what we were going to do for them and when. We didn't get much input or say in anything, and when we did, and didn't do what they wanted us to do, they would stage an intervention to try to change our minds.

It was a really frustrating feeling. I felt almost detached from my babies, even though they never really left my side, except for the few times I had run to the store. The nurses, God bless them, meant well but there were times I just wanted to scream because I felt they had over stepped their boundaries. Like the time one nurse insisted on taking MJ out of the room without my knowledge while I was sleeping and proceeded to feed her 75mL for 2 feeds, when she had barely taken 55mL per feed on a regular basis. So when the nurse's shift ended, I ended up with an extremely over fed and fussy baby who screamed in pain the entire day.

We did have some amazing nurses though. They quickly became our outlet whether they liked it or not. Since all the babies did all day was literally eat and sleep, M and I didn't really have anything to do. And a bored M and a bored Joanna combined is not a pretty thing. Keep in mind that in the 5 years M and I have been married, we have only lived in the same house for 24 non-consecutive months, the most being 8. And in that time, we rarely, if ever, were in the same room for more than a couple of hours. So to be cooped up in a 12x16 foot room for days on end was not really a good thing for us. Or maybe it was. It was like marriage boot camp because we got to figure out how to live with each other again and when we weren’t driving each other crazy, remember that we really do enjoy each other’s company.

To pass the time, M would do his cross word puzzles (big nerd) and I would eat. And eat, and eat and eat and eat. I swear the second the babies were born I started eating and didn’t stop. I guess I was making up for the previous 9 months where I could hardly eat and when I did, hardly keep anything down. I ate so much in the 2 weeks the babies were in the hospital, it was ridiculous. I ate things I didn’t even like, like chocolate cake (3 times a day), cookies (at least a package a day), muffins and pastries… oh the pastries. They became an obsessive addiction. I HAD to have at least one in the morning, and then one in the afternoon. There was hell to pay if M didn’t make it down to the coffee cart in the lobby to get me a pastry before it closed at 2. Apple, berry, cheese, whatever. I had to have that preservative and saturated fat filled goodness or I was really going to die. And that was on top of the 4 solid meals and umpteen snacks I ate during the day too. The nurses got to the point where they would just go and get me a tray with a sandwich, cake, veggies fruit and soup for my midnight snack before I even asked because they knew I was going to be crying for it in the middle of the night. Let me tell you that I never knew hospital food could taste so good.

Our lives really seemed to revolve around food for those 2 weeks. While I was eating my way to a pastry induced stupor and packing on the pounds, so were the babies. Eventually, both girls got to the point where they were able to take most of their feeds through their bottles. Once they were able to take all of their feeds through their bottles and maintain and gain weight, we were able to take them home. A was discharged first, 10 days after she was admitted. MJ was discharged 2 days later, exactly 14 days after being admitted. They had come such a long way from when we had first got there. They didn’t look skeletal or as fragile. They were still tiny, but not as scary as they were before. It was such a great feeling being able to get out of there and take them home, but I’ll fully admit I was scared too.

M left to go back “home” 2 days after the girls came home from the hospital. W and CB had gotten so used to my parents taking care of them and their dad being around and they had a bit of a hard time transitioning back to life with just mommy, and then adjusting to having 2 little babies who took up everyone’s time and attention. They certainly have had their moments but I can honestly say they are such great kids and have handled this transition time a billion times better than I thought they would. I was seriously prepared to get Super Nanny all up in our business and come regulate but save for a few days, there hasn't really been a need.

The past 7 weeks have essentially been out of control but we have been managing. We are finally getting into a routine and I am getting brave enough to take the babies out by myself, and once I even took all 4 kids out without any help. MJ is suffering from some pretty wicked reflux, which makes getting anything done nearly impossible and is part of the reason it has taken me 3 weeks to get this post done. If she’s awake, chances are good she is screaming and wants to be held. If she’s asleep, chances are good she’ll be up within 20 minutes because she’s choked on stomach acid and needs to be soothed back to sleep. A is typically laid back but has her reflux issues too. Their little personalities are starting to emerge now and it is really interesting to see how much the temperaments they had in the womb are like the temperaments they have now.

Life with twins is interesting, to say the least. These two little babies have brought me to my knees in more ways than one and have taught me more about life and love than I ever imagined they could in these short 10 weeks. I am so incredibly grateful to be blessed with such amazing children and I can’t wait to see where this road leads.

1 comment:

Eeyorebabies said...

Awwww (((((HUGS))))) I remember those long days in the hospital. It felt like they were holding my babies hostage and I was never going to take them home. You are doing an amazing job with everything you are dealing with. Life with twins is no joke. It is hard! But you do make it through. DH was deployed for a year when my kiddos were 8 months until 20 months. It was extremely hard, I can't imagine having other children in the mix. You are Super Nanny, she wouldn't even be able to tackle what you are going through! You're doing fantastic. It DOES get better!!!