Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Quickly after I delivered the twins (though not as quickly as when I delivered Adrianna since the twins were further along) the twins were sent to the NICU. While I recovered, the nurse took the girls to the NICU but stopped in the hallway quickly so Adrianna and my mom and inlaws could meet them. It was so sweet of her to do that! My OB even went to check on my mom who wanted so badly to see the twins being born. She gave my mom a huge hug and told her that I was ok. Seriously, best OB EVER! About 2 hours went by before I was ready to be wheeled to the NICU to snuggle my baby girls. Adrianna and everyone else went home, I was in recovery waiting for the feeling to come back in my lower body. I didn't completely get all feeling back, I lied to the nurse. I just really wanted to see the girls.
I hobbled down the hall and caught my first glimpse of Bella. She was gorgeous! Wrapped up tight in her hospital blanket, and warm with her little hospital hat. These two items are my favorite. Seems no matter how long it has been since they first wore it their smell is forever embedded in the fibers. Adrianna's still smells like her when she was born...it brings back an influx of memories with every whiff. I held Isabella tightly and just watched her look into my eyes, studying me and memorizing my face. It always takes me a day or so to really connect with my babies. With Adrianna I was in so much shock that she had been born, so little and 5 weeks early, that it really was a few days before I really felt a bond. I loved her, would give my life for her from the instant i delivered her but the bond takes a few days I feel. No one tells you that. I already knew that this time around so I didn't feel horrible when the last thing I wanted to do was breastfeed them. I really wanted to hold, snuggle and smell their baby smell then I wanted to sleep! The nurse that night made me breastfeed though. It didn't feel right. I just wasn't into it. I gave it my best shot but I wish they would have listened to me when I said I needed to get rest. It had been a very long day and after 6 weeks of bed rest in the hospital my body was not in any condition to give birth...it was so very weak. I tried to breastfeed Isabella and she latched right away but quickly fell asleep and did not want to latch anymore. The nurse insisted I keep trying and I was literally falling asleep in the chair bobbing my head. It was torture. I know it sounds like a terrible thing to say but I kept insisting that I wanted to pump and get rest. Needless to say, my first experience with the girls in the NICU was not as joyful as I had hoped. The same happened when I saw Vicky for the first time. It just killed the whole experience for me.
I was in the NICU for over an hour and finally went to bed. I was woken up after only sleeping for 2 hours and told that the girls were crying and needed to breastfeed. Again, I said that I was going to pump because I needed to sleep yet the nurse insisted I breastfeed....made me feel terrible for even trying to avoid it all together. Shouldn't BFing be something that comes from me? Something that I feel inclined to do? I tried with both of the girls again and nothing. I was completely exhausted at this point....I was at the verge of tears. In fact, I remember going back to the room and just crying myself to sleep. Joe understood my frustration and he was upset he couldn't do much to help me. I was not bothered at all for 4 hours straight after that, and felt so much better the next day. I showered at 6am and first thing I wanted to do was see my babies. I went straight to the NICU and was greeted by a kind new face. The nurse that day was a lactation consultant and we spoke about the night before. She told me that there was nothing wrong with my feeling the way I did and that it was completely normal. Made me feel so good. She asked if I wanted to try to BF again, but def did not pressure me into it. This time, it came naturally from me and I had the urge to feed my babies. I started with Vicky, she was great at suckling but did not latch very well, ouch! She was able to get a couple of drops after I used a nipple shield. For 2 days straight I was able to latch Vicky with a nipple shield and she was able to get a tiny bit of breast milk. It felt amazing! I did pump and bottle feed as well and they both were also supplemented with formula because of their low blood sugar and low birth weights. Isabella had a harder time with suckling but had the best latch. She was just lazy and would get tired out very quickly. By the 3rd day of their lives, they were both showing their different personalities. Victoria was my crier (still is). She was always screaming and letting everyone know she was there. Boy is her cry loud! She was eating great, both from latching and from what I pumped by bottle and formula as well. Her only issue was maintaining her body temperature. She was put in an isolete where the temp was set very warm and every few days the temp in the isolete was lowered until it reached room temperature then if she was able to maintain her body temp then she would be taken out of the isolete. Before I could take her home she had to be eating well, maintain body temp and get back to her birth weight. Isabella was not eating as well. She was having to be fed with a syringe. She would not suckle on the bottle or breast as well. She was not eating the amount she needed to be eating. For them both, their minimum feed had to be 7-10 mls. Such a tiny amount. Isabella was given a feeding tube that day. She was also in an isolete because she had jaundice. In order for me to bring her home she had to be feeding her minimum feed without a feeding tube for 48 hours and had to be jaundice free.
I had never been happier! They were both so perfect and doing fairly well for how little they were. They were my miracles. I loved them so much! It really didn't take long before I felt that strong bond and connection with them. I was still so very sore and tired. My body was not feeling well after birth. I knew I had to take it easy, but how could I when all I wanted to do was be with my babies! Adrianna was doing well handling being a big sister. She really wasn't interested in doing much with the babies, it must have been so strange for her having her sisters hooked up to monitors, having her mommy in the hospital so long. I can't imagine.
I was eventually discharged from the hospital and I couldn't have been happier! I packed my things, fed the babies, got in my car and we all headed to cheesecake factory to celebrate my finally leaving the hospital. This was my first real meal and the first meal I could actually finish without throwing up (I had run out of room in my belly towards the end of the pregnancy). I was still hurting, and I had the worst hip and pubic bone pain ever! It was terrible. So bad that my OB prescribed me Percoset. Still, every day I went to the NICU to feed my babies. Once in the morning and another at 8pm after Adrianna's bed time. Most days I could barely get out of the car. One time I went by myself and had to pull over because I had a gall bladder attack (found out during my stint at Tufts that I had gall stones caused by the pregnancy). I couldn't move or breath in and I threw up bile on the side of the road. Horrible. After 20 min it passed and I continued on to the hospital. I was determined and I thought I was superwoman....nothing could stop me! Day 7 came and we were told Victoria was ready to come home! We were so excited! We ate breakfast and went to the hospital at around 8am. By 9am she was ready to be discharged. She passed her car seat test, had all of her leads and wires removed and we changed her into her coming home outfit. Then it happened. She pooped, and it was all blood. Soaked the diaper in blood. The doctor came over and told us she was not going home. She needed to be observed some more. We were no stranger to bloody poops, Adrianna had them too when she was a newborn. We knew that there would be formula changes, no more breast milk and possibly a stint at Boston Children's Hospital. At the same time, Isabella actually finished a whole feeding without a feeding tube! We knew there was a chance that Isabella would be coming home soon and Victoria would spend more time in the NICU. And that is exactly how it happened. Victoria was transported to Children's that afternoon, we went straight there and spent the night with her there. She was given the diagnosis of NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis). In the most extreme form, there would be a fast need for surgery to fix a perforated intestine. In Vicky's case, her intestine was ok but the presence of blood in her poop and signs of infection in her bloodwork caused the doctors to treat her for medical NEC in which the infection is treated and there is no need for surgery. She was on no feeds until a 7 day round of antibiotics was completed then she would slowly be reintroduced to an elimental formula, likely Neocate. We made the difficult decision at that time to stop offering breast milk to both Vicky and Bella. I would have had to eliminate all dairy from my diet, and with us moving shortly after their birth this was an impossible task. I was not ready to go down that route. We decided to stop offering breast milk to Isabella as well because since both Adrianna and Victoria presented with this NEC issue we did not want to risk Bella getting sick as well. It was hard on me. I had so much guilt. I felt terrible for Vicky and more so for Bella. We quickly started building up our supply of formula for Bella, she was and still is on Enfamil Enfacare. She was on Neocate in the hospital until discharge just in case she developed the same issue.
Bella was ready to come home 5 days after Vicky went to Children's. She passed her car seat test, leads were removed and we put her in our car and brought her home. I got my first baby snuggles with her without any wires or nurses and it was wonderful. We snuggled on the couch for hours. She was a doll at night as well. She woke uo every three hours to eat and slept soundly in between feeds. It was a piece of cake to have one baby home and taking care of Adrianna. At night, at 8pm after we put Adrianna to bed, we would drive into Boston to visit Vicky. The NICU there is amazing and the nurses were wonderful. We did get frustrated at a point though with the doctors there....more on that in another post.
Regardless of all of the hardships we went through in a short period of time, we were so happy. I could not have been happier that my babies were here. Bella was at home with me, Vicky was getting better and I was feeling good. Then we got upset at the way things were going for Vicky. I will post about that later.

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