Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Detour...

... so, as I said in our birth story post, all was going well. Babies were born very healthy and ready for this world. We spent our 3 nights in the hospital from our c-section and decided to take the extra 4th that they offered, just for one more night of sleep. On the 3rd night however, I spiked a fever. They took a look at my incision and noticed there was more redness and swelling there than there should be at this point. I also had a ton of rash like areas on my back and abdomen and everywhere else they had put adhesive tape during the surgery. I was a mess.

After an evaluation by the attending OB, they decided to start me on a triple cocktail of IV antibiotics to help the infection. I would be monitored for the next 24 hours and hope that this helped decrease my temperature and redness. The babies and Tidy were still in my room and would stay there until we decided differently.

Unfortunately, after 2 days of monitoring, my fever wasn't staying down, as I would spike a little one somewhere around 101 degrees ever 24 hours or so. Additionally, the wound wasn't getting better. The OB resident decided to bring the attending back in for a consult and also involve the Infections Disease (ID) attending at that time. They came up with a plan: Switch up the IV antibiotics and open up the wound to let it drain and hopefully heal better.

The next day, a team of 3 doctors came in to assess the wound and my situation. They took some blood and asked me if I wanted some pain meds for the procedure. I opted for just gritting my teeth as I had had way too many pain meds the first few days of my C-section recovery and they make me feel like ass. I was dry-heaving and drowsy when on them. I wanted so baldy to be free of those meds... so acetaminophen and ibuprofen were all that I took. They proceeded with the wound opening by taking out the first two layers of stitches in my incision and letting all of the infection drain. The pain of the procedure was not too bad, just like bee-stings. Luckily the other deeper layers of the incision looked clean and were healing well. So no need to do anything further. They packed the wound with gauze and put a light air-flowing dressing on the top.

It's amazing to me how they let these wounds heal. It's not how you would think... They don't re-stitch it back up. They leave those layers open, and have it be packed and unpacked with gauze to help stimulate better blood flow and healing to the area.  It's called "open wound care". I won't go into too many more details here, but I never thought I would be doing something like this to my body. Very strange.

We were on the path to healing. The opening of the wound helped a lot, my fevers had subsided a bit and they switched me to 1 IV antibiotic instead of the 3. The babies had also been discharged at this point from the hospital since they were healthy and they really didn't need the nursing care anymore. But we decided to keep them in the room with us because we wanted to continue the family bonding and breast feeding. This discharge was good news, but also bad because it meant that we couldn't use the nursery at night anymore to help us get a bit of sleep.  On top of that, I was having my vitals checked 4x a day. Rest was very hard to come by.

The next day, after my blood test results came back, ended up being one of the worst days of my stay there. Apparently, my white blood cell count levels were way too high, that they were on par with that of a leukemia patient... higher than expected given the infection. So the team of OBs, ID and now a general surgeon attending, had me going from one test to another. I had 2 cat scans, a chest x-ray, a pelvic and leg ultrasound and numerous swabs and cultures taken. The goal of all of these was to rule out any sort of other deeper infection that they couldn't see just on the surface with the wound infection. The day was pure hell. I woke up at 6:30am and didn't have more than 15 minutes alone with my babies and my husband until about 3pm. During that time were all the tests and the consults with the doctors. There was talk of possible uterine infections from left over placenta, a gall bladder infection that might need to be operated on, other abscess of infection deeper in my peritoneal cavity... Thankfully all of these tests came back negative and there was nothing else causing such a high wbc other than the wound infection.

This confused the team however, and with 5 different doctors (between the various areas and residents and attendings) they couldn't come up with a good plan to get me out of the hospital, especially because I was till running a little temperature every 36 hours or so. And, once that happened, the protocol of the hospital was that I couldn't leave until I was 48 hours with out a fever. As you can imagine, taking my temperature was a very nerve wrecking thing, especially when a temp meant at least another few days before we could go home.

This was all occurring during the week of June 17th. Also a point to note, my OB, the one who saw me through my blissfully easy pregnancy, was out of town and unaware of all of this.

On Thursday, June 22nd, he was in the hospital for a c-section and stopped by my room. I looked at him and began to cry immediately. I could tell he felt badly for me and was frustrated that I was still there. He was not the attending on call that day, and he was still learning more about my case, so he couldn't take much action that day, but I could tell he wanted to take matters into his own hands. The hospital machine is a funny thing... after having so many different doctors opine on my infection and care, it was very hard to really understand who was responsible for what. What were we really waiting on to determine if I could go home? The wbc count to come down? The fevers to stop? The infection to look better? It's so hard to say, especially when you can't get one straight answer out of anyone.

Additionally, at this point, they decided it was best for me to be moved to a surgical wing instead of the post-natal suites we were in since the nursing staff was better equipped to handle my case in that unit. The new rooms were a MAJOR downgrade from the hotel like suites we had been for over a week. Adding this into the extended stay along with  little to no sleep proved to be a very depressing few days for me.

While I was showing sings of improvement over the next few days, not all of the measures were going together. So no one was saying when I could go home. I began to get very very sad and wanted so badly just to be in my own bed with my own food, nurturing my babies in a proper environment, unhooked from IVs and such.

Finally, on Sunday, June 24th, my OB was back on call as the attending that day and he stopped in. In my mind, I was hoping for a Monday or Tuesday release, but when he came in, he said, "Let's get you outta here today" we all brightened up! My mom & dad were in the room as well and they were very impressed with his thought process. Basically he said, although things weren't prefect, there is no reason that I couldn't be doing this healing at home. None of the interventions that they had me hooked up to right now couldn't be adapted to be done at home. I could do the wound care on my own with an out-patient clinic and I could move over to oral antibiotics.  Tidy and I looked at him and said,"Um!! These are the things we've been trying tell the other docs all along! AND I can guarantee that I will heal faster at my home rather than in this depressing place".

So, within about 2 hour, we had our discharge papers signed and a prescription for an oral antibiotic. We had our bags packed and our babies loaded up into the double stroller. And even though I still had a fever, I could already feel a healing wave wash over me. There is something truly to be said for the environment in which you are healing.

Since my release, you will be happy to know that the infection is clearing up, the wound is healing, I have not spiked any fevers, I am breathing beautiful fresh air, I am sleeping (as much as one can with twins) in my own bed, I am nursing my babies and I am resting whenever I can so that my body heals quickly.  We are on the mend and making up for the lost time in the hospital.

One thing I do know, is that I will never ever take for granted the road that we took to get these babies home. They are what kept me going trough the seemingly endless day/nights at the hospital that blurred into one long hellish event.

I know my story could be worse. I know that I am blessed to have two beautiful healthy babies. I know that we have a lot to be grateful for and not everyone gets their take home babies. So I will focus on that... on these two little lives that struggled so hard to get here, to our home... and take all of the strength that I can from this experience and turn it into strength to parent these two amazing babies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tippy & Tidy's Twins Birth Story

I've been wanting to write this for a while, but our hospital detour has kept me from having time to sit down... oh and I guess twins will do that to...

Here is how our M&M and the Bean Burrito entered the world on June 12th, 2012:

Sunday, June 10th, I was feeling rather gaseous, and a bit achy, so I went to our gym and got in the pool for a swim. After a half mile of moving my body back and forth in the gravity defying water, I felt rejuvinated and relaxed. I headed home to get ready for the work week, because after all... I was still about 16 days away from my due date and 8 days from my schedule C-section, so of course I was still going to work this week...

Monday, June 11th, I went to work and got a few of the things off my to do list that had been hanging over my head. I left my computer at work at the end of that day instead of lugging it back home with me because I truly felt that I would be coming back to work the next day. Just goes to show, you never know.  In the evening, I went home, took a little nap, ate dinner and then went to my prenatal yoga class. It's been a very wonderful staple in my second and third trimester. And one of the funny things about it is that the instructor often boasts that for those who are ready for labor, the night after people attend her class, they often have their water break or contractions start soon thereafter. I went to bed that night thinking I would surely see the next week's class..

Tuesday, June 12th, 4:45 am. I woke up to a feeling of needing to use the bathroom. But then I laid there thinking... hm... I think I just DID use the bathroom... my bed...I was groggy and not quite sure what the sensation was but somehow roused myself up and walked the 8 steps from my bed to the bathroom. Just as I sat down on the toilet, a warm bunch of water came out. I wouldn't say trickle, but I also wouldn't say gush... I looked down at my underwear and saw that it was soaked through as well. So of course I did what anyone else would do... I smelled it! And it didn't smell like pee. 

At that moment I knew that we were going to meet our babies that day. 

I called to Tidy from the bathroom and said, "Tidy, my water broke. We are going to meet our babies today". From dreamland, he sat up sluggishly and said, "Really? Huh... Wait, Really? Are you kidding?"

It was so surreal.. and matter of fact. Calm, just normal, like this was how we knew how to operate in this moment... like we had known it all along. 

So I called my OB's clinic and explained the situation to the on-call doctor: I was 37w5d pregnant with twins, the presenting twin (originally baby B) was breech, and we had a scheduled c-section in a week and a few days, my water broke, but I was not yet contracting. He said, "Well, you'd better come in then.. We'll get your c-section in this morning"

Guess what, though, me... the type A planner... still had not packed a bag. Tidy, the fly by the seat of your pants guy, had packed his bag a few weeks ago! At least I had a list of things I wanted to put into the bag. So, we packed my bag, walked the dog, I cleaned the bathroom sinks because I thought they were gross, we got in the car, stopped for a coffee and a breakfast sandwich for Tidy ( I couldn't eat because of that whole anesthesia thing...) and arrived at the hospital around 7:30am. 

We got settled in our prep room and talked with the OB who was to perform the c-section (not my OB, but a partner of his. My OB was out of the office all that week... this will be an important point in my next blog post, so keep it in mind for now). 

I met the Anesthesiologist and his CRNA, sat down on the OR table and they placed the spinal. It was strange, warm-ish feeling, that rushed from my toes up to my lower chest. They tested various spots on my body to see how the numbing was working and within a few minutes, the curtain was up and Tidy had entered the room clothed in scrubs and a mask. I asked him to tell me a story as I laied on the table waiting for our babies to arrive. We had asked that if possible, Tidy to be able to announce the gender of our babies. In less than 5 minutes from when he entered the room, the OB asked him to peak across the screen and said, "Dad, what is it?" At that moment I heard the most beautiful cry I've ever heard in my life and Tidy said, "Its a girl!!!" and looked at me with tears in his eyes. I looked back with the same wet eyes. 

Not one minute later, Tidy announced, "And...It's a boy!!" as the sound of our second born emerged. 

A boy and a girl.

A family of 4.

Just like that.

It took a bit of time to get the feeling back in the lower half of my body. During the recovery period, M&M and the Bean Burrito were brought to me and they immediately took to nursing. It was absolutely astounding to see them root on my chest right away. I must say that I was fearful that they c-section would disturb the breast feeding process, but it did not. I'm very grateful. 

These two little lives are just so amazing to me! I can not even begin to tell you what a perfect fit they are into our family. It was most definitely meant to be. And for those of you who wonder, no... I did not once think of the fact that they are not genetically related to me... Not once. They are most certainly Tidy and my babies. End of story :-) 

Here's a few pics to tide you over until I get around to my next post discussing why we were delayed in our journey home... (stay tuned).

The Bean Burrito, our International Man of Mystery 
(Being in the hospital for almost 2 weeks alloted us a to of time for crazy nick names)

Sleeping together, after a tandem feeding session. M&M on the left, the Bean Burrito on the right.

M&M, Smiling. She melts your heart, no???

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Detour on Our Way Home

I owe you all a beautiful birth story of my little M&M (baby girl, baby B) and the Bean Burrito (baby boy, baby A) I hope to write this saga soon. For know, here are the facts: M&M and the Bean Burrito are amazing and healthy and have won our hearts 10-fold or more!!! I am still in the hospital recovering from an epic surgical incision infection. Seriously, this is one for their books, they keep saying. The babies and Tidy have been with me sine they ere born so we could continue bonding and breast feeding. The hospital has been very considerate that way. Hoping to have a better idea on when we can get back home. I'm so ready to be in my house with these babies to my home and eat my own food. And have visitors to help us take care of our babies Tidy is surely the strongest man I know. My love

Thursday, June 14, 2012

And Then There Were Four

We interrupt this regularly scheduled C section with the breaking news... well, water breaking that is... Our beautiful perfect healthy babies were born yesterday, 6/12/12 via C-section, around 10am. 1 girl, 5 lbs 14 oz. 1 boy, 5 lbs 4 oz. We are in love, in awe and in gratitude. More to come in the next few days.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Let the Countdown Begin

We had our final OB appointment this past Friday and set a date for our C-section.

We aren't sharing the date...

But we basically know we will have our babies on or before that date. If I go into labor before then, we will head to the hospital, assess the babies' positions and if they are still breech, will prep for the C-section  then.

I can NOT believe it's almost here. That THEY are almost here. I keep trying to envision what that day will be like and I simply can't. I think it's going to blow my mind.

It's OK though, because it helps me stay focused, here in the moment, and not freak out too much about my surgery... the surgery that will bring my babies into this world.

So I guess I don't have a whole lot to share other than this pregnancy is coming to an end in the near future and a big brand new chapter in our lives is going to begin... becoming parents... and I really truly don't have words right now to sum up the anticipation and excitement in my head. So instead I fall back to just staying in the present moment and enjoying this quiet peaceful time with Tidy & the Pog.


And now the stats

Status: 37w3d

Weight Gain: At 37w1d, I was 44 lbs up.

Symptoms:  Carpel tunnel is there but manageable. More intense Braxton-Hicks and after talking with my OB on Friday, confirming that I must have lost my mucus plug. Other than that, still feeling pretty normal.

Cravings: None to speak of

Aversions: None to speak of

Exercise:  Weekly prenatal yoga and prenatal pilates

Best Moment of the Week: My Saturday with Tidy: Cleaning and putting stuff away in the house, and hour and a half nap, cooking dinner, laughing together, and snuggling with the Pog.

What I Look Forward to: First and foremost, my babies!! But I have started to think past the birth a bit and been getting excited about running again and beer!!! BEER!!!!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

37 weeks

Today marks the end of our 37th week. We are officially full term. I am so so very thankful to have made it this far with these babies. We go to see our OB tomorrow to make final "plans" for either a C-section, or induction. I have many questions for him but mostly I want to thank him for helping me get through this pregnancy with some sanity... and of course encourage him to help us bring these babies into the outside world in the safest way possible.

For now, I will leave you with a comparison of my belly today and one about 31 weeks ago...  Hilarious!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dear Babies

I've been wanting to write a letter to you for a while, but didn't quite know how to begin. The day of your arrival is getting ever closer, so I thought I would just start writing and hope what comes out makes sense.

Tidy and I have been waiting for you for years... 5 to be exact. We are so very thrilled that you are almost here. I don't think words can explain our feelings right now.

For the last nine months you have gone with me wherever I go. You come to work with me every day and keep me company as I sit in my meetings and at my desk. You bounce around in there, get hiccups and sometimes even kick me in the ribs, but I smile every time I feel you. This experience of growing you has been the most amazing experience I have had in my life. I have honestly loved every minute of it and am ever grateful for our ability to finally journey down this path. I still sometimes have to pinch myself that this is really real. While I can not wait to meet you both and learn who you are, I will miss having you with me every minute of the day.

Now, Tidy and I are eagerly anticipating you arrival. We have made improvements to our home, decorated your nursery, froze some food for those first few weeks and have talked endlessly to the Pog to help her understand how good of a big dog-sister she is going to be. We are ready for you to arrive (well, if you could just wait until after Friday, that would be perfect. It's 8th grade graduation at Tidy's school and he would like be there for that event... but any time after that is just fine).

I hope that as we learn how to be a family together, we are good parents to you both. We aren't going to be perfect at this and at times are a bit scared for all of the change that is to come, but we are waiting  with open arms to hold and comfort and guide you... and open hearts to love and listen to you... and open minds to learn from you.

Please know that at this moment, I want nothing more than to hear you make your first cries as you enter into this world, hold you both in my arms, look into your faces and know that you are finally our take home babies...

All my love,


Saturday, June 2, 2012

What I Haven't Learned

After all of these years struggling with infertility, you would think that I would have learned better to roll with the punches, to "stay in the moment" and appreciate all of the good.

For the most part I think I have. I let much of the small stuff slide off, well, except for this morning when I was really really excited for a creamy cup of decaf coffee but 1) the half and half was nearly gone and 2) all of the decaf was already combined withe the caffeinated coffee (Tidy drinks half decaf) in the container so my morning was foiled... GRRR.

Ok, anyways..  back to my story.

At our 30 week ultrasound, when we thought the growth of the babies was diverging and my OB predicted a high chance of a C-section, we also learned that baby B was presenting (closest to the exit) and was breech and baby A was fundal (further at the top of the uterus) and transverse.  Here's a picture of what they kind of look like.

So I've spent much of my time these past few weeks trying to understand how likely it is that baby B will flip vertex, or maybe baby A will nudge baby B away from the exit and move in for the save. (I've also spent much of my time inverted, using moxa sticks, doing acupuncture and chiropractic care )... But it seems that if the twins haven't moved by 36 weeks, it's very very highly unlikely that they will after that. And a few days ago we passed our 36 week mark and also had an ultrasound, which confirmed the babies were still in the same unfavorable-for-a-vaginal-delivery position.

On the very very bright side, the babies are doing great. Both are estimated to be just shy of 6 lbs each, and we got to see that they both are practicing breathing. Their lungs are moving to get ready for the world outside. Cool, huh?

But I must say that I had gotten my hopes up that baby B, the breech one, had flipped... you see, I have a heart beat monitor at home that I use from time to time just to check in. And I had been used to hearing both of the heat tones near my belly button... but then early last weekend, I checked again and baby B's heart tone had moved way down to near the exit. This of course got my mind spinning that my baby B had actually spun!! So I was all proud of my babies for listening to my wishes and hopeful that when we went into to see them early this week we would see that one to be head down.

No dice though.

And then with that, I had to re-grieve this sense of loss I feel about not being able to have a vaginal birth. It was quicker this time than the last discussion with my OB. More so, however, I was mad at myself for 1) getting my hopes up and 2) allowing that disappointment to cloud my thoughts for a few days.

I mean, come on Tippy, things are going great! You are 36 + weeks with twins who are thriving feeling little to nothing to complain about. You are going to finally hold these babies in your hands in the very near future... the babies you have longed for for 5 years. This C-section business is just a blip in the road. Yes, it's ok to feel the disappointment, and have wanted it to go differently, but it is not ok to let it taint these last few weeks of anticipation as you meet your babies.

So I woke up a few mornings ago after a day of sadness, with the intention of trying to just stay focused on the present moment and the positive healthy babies that we will get to meet soon.

Isn't this cycle of disappointment though, similar to those feelings of failure with a negative cycle, or a 2nd or 3rd chemical pregnancy? It's not the SAME disappointment, but just a similar cycle of thought. So apparently I still have some learning/growing to do in my ability to roll with the punches.


And now the stats

Status: 36w2d

Weight Gain: I'll weigh in again this coming Friday.

Symptoms:  Carpel tunnel is still around. Hormone swings are annoying too. I also had more (TMI) mucus this morning... so maybe that mucus plug is starting to thing out.

Cravings: None to speak of

Aversions: None to speak of

Exercise:  Still doing my once a week prenatal yoga and once a week prenatal pilates. Also went to the gym last night for a swim. It felt SOO good. I swam and kicked a half mile. The pool is amazing for taking all of that baby weight off of your body. It feels like I'm not pregnant at all.

Best Moment of the Week: Seeing the twins again at the ultrasound and hearing that they have some hair on their heads and also seeing their lungs move to a rhythm to help prepare them for the outside world. Yay babies!

What I Look Forward to: Similar to last week, I think all of my forward looking thoughts are to holding these babies and to nuzzling with them. It's going to be here soon and I want to really really appreciate these last few days/weeks and know that we were joyful in their anticipation.