Sunday, October 30, 2011

Explanations

Sometimes you feel terrible because something is wrong.
I'm fighting an infection.
Thank goodness I got to a clinic and the Dr took my symptoms seriously. I'm on some wicked antibiotics and am feeling better already. Don't have an appetite yet but forcing myself to eat.
My Mom is running the house. I'm healing and caring for babies with help from Andrew and Mom.
Tomorrow will be better.

Friday, October 28, 2011

First 2 weeks

What an insane time this is. I don't know if the anxiety and stress and exhaustion I feel is normal or if I'm spiralling out of control.
I'm scared by the idea of being alone with Samson and Rachel. Too scared to properly appreciate them yet.
I know the babies are doing well, growing like weeds. But I'm feeling sicker and less capable every day. We have a schedule that I think is working for now which has me, my Mom and Andrew feeding the babies in shifts. So what is wrong?
I think time will tell but for now I intend to spend every minute I can in bed. No expectations to do anything. I wish I felt up for company, I wish I felt up for getting dressed.
I'll give myself another couple of weeks though.
That photo shoot was a bad idea in retrospect....it took waaay too much out of me that I didn't have to give. Down the road I may feel differently.
I hope this next week brings more healing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Photo session

In a fit of genius and total ignorance I booked a professional photo session. It may be our last for a very long time but I think it may have been worth it....












Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby pics

Some pics from our first days.
Both babies are allowed to join us in our hospital room.

Mom and Samson enjoy a quiet moment sometime around 4am.


Feeding Samson in the NICU. He has monitor lines all over him but he was doing quite well. It took an hour to coax the minimum 30mls into him. Quite an emotional struggle.


Samson and Rachel share some quality time in Samson isolet. He has an IV line to help stablize his blood sugar levels. It was a little upsetting to see him like that and he kept wacking himself in the face with the foam board.


Snuggling Samson in the OR before Rachel arrived. They had put me on oxygen as I got shakey and light headed after he arrived.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hospital Stay

Although nothing about the birth went as we anticipated, everything worked out very well. The care we all received in Nanaimo was exceptional, the best care I could imagine....better even. The number of nurses we dealt with between the NICU and myself was a lot and they were all exceptional... although a few stand out as being total saviours in moments of distress or concern.


Both Samson and Rachel struggled a bit with their blood sugar levels and needed to stay in the NICU for monitoring. Samson needed an IV line. They were there for 2.5 days, each day getting better and stronger.

Low birth weight babies require some special considerations and we learned a lot from the NICU nurses in those two days. In general: don't let them get too upset, it burns too many calories. They need to feed minimum ever 3 hours and need to take a minimum of 30mls. Don't let them get too hot and don't let them get too cold. Their ability to maintain their own body temperatures and their blood sugar levels in between feeds were big milestones in those two days. Rachel was half a day ahead of Samson, as you'd expect from a slightly bigger baby.


Those two days were a very emotional time for us. I was struggling to take it all in. I kept thinking 'I have babies but I can't be with them.... are they really here? I hurt physically and feel like an invalid, how can I possibly take care of them?' I needed Andrew to help with everything and he was there every step of the way....taking care of me physically, emotionally, remembering information I couldn't keep track of, learning how to take care of the babies as I tried to learn breastfeeding. He was a superstar and continues to be.


I got to see Samson and Rachel for the first time after leaving the OR when I could prove that I could stand on my own. I went to the bathroom, then got ready and was wheeled into the NICU where they were. They were sooo small and hooked up to all kinds of monitors. But the nurses quickly unhooked them and got them into our arms for a snuggle and a feed. I think it was 3am.


I was exhausted and the next feed was at 6am. We returned to our room, tried to catch a few minutes of rest and returned for the 6am feed. The next two days were more of the same. We went to the NICU for every feed except one in the middle of the night. Each feeding session lasted at least an hour. So that only left 2 hours at most in between visits....and meant we rarely slept or had time to do much more than eat, take pain meds, try to communicate with family.


By Sunday we were thrilled to be told that Rachel could come back to the room with us. It felt like a gift. That afternoon, Samson was released as well. As long as we could feed them their minimum amounts and their weight didn't drop off, we could keep them.

All went well and we were on an adrenaline high. By Monday we were talking about being let go as long as the babies jaundice didn't get any worse (bilirubin blood test was required) and they passed their car seat challenge, which require 1.5 hours in the seat hooked up to oxygen monitors.

The blood test proved to be a harrowing experiene that had to be done 3 times on Samson. I can't write or talk about it without getting very upset so I won't. Suffice it to say it was our first experience challenging a professional in order to advocate for our child... and it was worth it. The final test was done without a peep from our boy, compared to 20 minutes of incredible distress for the previous ones. Gah, I'm crying just remembering it.

Both Samson and Rachel aced their car seat challenges Monday night. Tuesday brought the news that their bilirubin levels were acceptable and they were back to their birth weights. We were cleared to leave. After a frenzied morning of packing and organizing, we left for home....a very stressful trip for me, not being able to see them and assure myself that they were okay. Many times at a stop light I unbuckled my seatbelt and reached back to ensure they weren't too hot or cold and still breathing.

We stopped at Grandma and Grandpa's house half way through the journey for a feed, which took 2 hours. :) And then made it all the way home (with a short delay on the highway) with perfectly happy babies. Walking into the house for the first time with them was a sweet moment. My parents were there with dinner on the table and the house all lit up welcoming us.

And then I crashed, exhausted after only 14 hours of sleep in the previous 6 days.

Birth Story

We were scheduled to be induced on Wed the 12th of Oct. I was ready, emotionally, physically, psychologically. And then they had to cancel due to there being no room in the NICU. The doctors did anticipate that the babies would need to be in the NICU so they just scheduled another non-stress test for Thursday and said they'd see where things were at then.

I arrived at the hospital on Thursday with my Dad. Andrew went to work as we did not think circumstances would change that day and he didn't want to take time off work when it wasn't necessary.

At the hospital the Doctor asked to speak with me before the non-stress test. She was very clear, "there is no room in the NICU and there won't be for quite some time.... and your babies can't wait. We want to transfer you to Nanaimo. They have room in their NICU. They've already been told about your circumstances and are waiting for you. You need to go home, pack and leave as soon as you can."

I cried. I was shocked. I called Andrew and told him to meet me at home, that we had to pack and leave asap. Before I left the hospital the non-stress test showed both babies doing just fine so all we had to do was pack and hit the road and let all our people know that all our plans were changing.

After a very uncomfortable 2 hour drive, we arrived in Nanaimo around 3:30pm and were incredibly relieved to get a fabulous room and wonderful nurses and meet the OB who would be delivering our precious babies. We got a very quick tour of the small but very nice facilities and saw the OR where we'd have to deliver.

Ocytocin was started via IV around 5pm and contractions started slowly and the pain was very managable. However, because we were having twins and because it was an induction, they needed to keep an eye on the babies heartrates the entire time! This meant I had to be hooked up to an IV and have three straps and monitors on my belly for the entire labour. Due to the odd positioning of the babies, the nurse had to constantly be adjusting one monitor looking for baby A's heart rate.

This is an aweful scenario for labouring....confined to bed with a stranger holding multiple monitors on you the entire time.

By about 7:00 contractions were stronger and more regular and more painful and the OB recommended the epidural line go in right away. I agreed to get the line in as the anesthetist was going to be in an operation later and there was no telling when he'd have time if he didn't do it then.

By the time he arrived and put in the line, around 7:45 pm, contractions were hard to manage on my own and when he urged me to start the medication right away I agreed.

Epidurals are glorious. It was the first time in months that I was without pain. Andrew and I talked and tried to keep in connection with each other. However, now there was also a blood pressure cuff on my arm (took a reading every 15 minutes) a heart rate monitor on my finger and an epidural line running from my shoulder along with the previous IV and monitors.

This was NOT the way I'd imagined things going. I tried to rest and relax and somehow a couple of hours went by and I started to feel pressure. When I told the nurse she agreed to call in the OB to check on me. The OB resisted at first and the nurse insisted. The OB arrived around 10:15 and with a shocked look said, "I have good news! You're fully dialated and baby is +2. We need to move to the operating room now!"

It was an emotional moment, knowing we were so close to meeting our little ones, knowing that the next few hours (?) would be scary and hard. They wheeled me in to the OR and I started pushing around 10:30. After about 15 minutes baby boy's heart rate dropped and the OB was concerned enough that she started using the vacuum. After just a few pushes, his heart rate returned to normal and we were able to deliver without further assistance.

Samson Asher Gillan came into the world and onto my chest and looked around and cried. I was amazed and shocked. He was so small and so alive! I kisses his head and talked to him and then they had to take him away. Andrew went with him and I anxiously waited for news and considered how I could possibly do it again. I was only half way done and I was tired.

The OB assured me that baby girl was doing just fine and it would be easier the second time. Also, there was no hurry. She was still quite high in the uterus and needed time to descend. Andrew went back and forth from the OR to the NICU next door giving me updates, taking pictures, trying to be in two places at once.

We waited, I tried to relax and stop the shuddering that went through my body almost non-stop. Samson came back into the room with Andrew and we got to visit, snuggle, attempt breastfeeding, love each other for a few precious minutes as a family of three. Then it was time to start again.

Pushing began around 11:50 and everyone in the room kept speculating about the possibility of different birthdays. Rachel Mikayla arrived after about 19 minutes of pushing. The nurses and OB saying, "here she is, she's here, reach for her, reach for your baby." And I did. I delivered her onto my chest myself. She was perfection. Her dark hair, wide open eyes, perfect tiny features and tiny cry. (I can't write this without crying)

We were all here, safe and sound and a family at last.

They dried her off and then had to take her away. Andrew went with her and I was left with the OB and nurses to be stitched (2nd degree tearing).

More about the hospital stay soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Room at the Inn

When there is no room at the inn, you are given a stable .... and God provides you with everything you need including mangers in NICUs.

Victoria NICU was full. No space anticipated for some time. We were instructed to leave for Nanaino asap.

Babies are here and safe but small and needing to be watched carefully in the NICU for a little while. More details soon but here are the stats:

Samson Asher Gillan: 4lbs 13oz, Born Oct 13 at 11:04pm
Rachel Mikayla Gillan: 5lbs, Born Oct 14 at 12:09pm

Both beautiful!

Induction went well. Very fast labour. Vaginal deliveries. Epidurals amazing. Happy Mom and Dad. Recovering well. More soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

T ... + ?

At 9am we still hadn't heard from the hospital. I called Labour and Delivery to ask what time we should arrive.

"I don't think it's going to happen today," the nurse says. I sat at my kitchen table shocked and upset. I'm ready, we're ready. I had a good night. I'm prepared to do this today, mentally, physically, organizationally. My husband is off work.

"The NICU is full. I'll talk to the Dr and see if we can book you in for another non-stress test today," she said.

11:00 non-stress test was booked. We sat around, totally deflated, watching TV till it was time to go.

At the hospital the babies were not cooperative for the test. What usually takes 20 minutes took over an hour to accomplish. In the end though, both babies were still looking good.

The doctor on call came by to explain the NICU has 3 new preemies born in the last 12 hours. It would be best to wait until tomorrow when they'd be more ready to handle our little ones should they need assistance. We'll book another non-stress tomorrow to keep an eye on the babies. That said, if we go into labour, we'll head right back.

So maybe Oct 13? Maybe 14? Maybe when all the other pregnant women in Victoria have had their babies? See at this 37 week point with twins it's like I'm 1 week overdue. And more time doesn't necessarily mean stronger babies, in fact it can mean higher risk.

Today I'm eating pizza and chips and chocolate and whatever the heck else I want to eat. It's time for a good hormonal cry.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

T - 1 day

It was a good last day.
I had a great visit with a friend during the day. Had a great nap. Another friend stopped by in the evening. We made a quick, easy dinner.
I'm living in the moment... not thinking too far ahead.
We're ready. We're all ready.
:)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

T - 3 Days

I really thought today might be the day. But at the non-stress test this morning these babies seemed perfectly content to stay mushed inside pushing each other around.


As long as they look good and I'm not having regular contractions, they saw no reason to worry or even check me. Braxton Hicks contractions, no matter how long they last, how uncomfortable they are, or how hard it is to breathe through them due to pressure on my diaphram, just don't count.


This is both good news and incredibly frustrating at the same time. The nurse said that I should go home and enjoy all the rest and relaxation I can for the next three days. "Cuz you're sure not going to get any once these babies come."


Ha ha ha RIIIIIGHT, thanks for the TIP!

(rant on) As if I don't know that! As if it's possible to rest and relax when you have really strong babies pushing your insides around and thumping away on your fibroid and you have agonizing groin pain whenever you have to shift your own weight. As if relaxing is an option when those braxton hicks come throughout the day, including waking you from a deep sleep.... and they can really hurt, just not the 'right' way. As if I haven't been resting and relaxing all I can for the past FOUR months.... it's like telling a prisoner to enjoy those last few days in the clink cuz soon they'll face the real world. I'm bored and frustrated out of my mind.
(rant over)

OK aaaand I'm incredibly grateful for many many things too.... 37 weeks is an incredible blessing. And there is a deadline for this.

I just need to make it though another 2.5 days. I feel like the little engine that could.
I think I can
I think I can
I think I can

Thursday, October 6, 2011

T - 6 Days

Where T = twin delivery and 6 = the number of days I'll be cautiously walking around and second guessing every movement, twinge and other potential symptom of labour or baby distress.

We're scheduled for induction on Wednesday Oct 12!

At today's apt the babies still looked good so the OB would like to give them one more week inside to ensure full lung development.

That said I'm 2cm dialated and thin!! So all we need are some real contractions and we'll be off to the races... or rather the hospital.

We do have another non-stress test on Sunday just to ensure babies are still okay. So there is a checkpoint on this last home stretch, which eases my mind a bit. Also, there is no guarantee that having the babies on a given day during the week is going to go smoothly. Apparently the labour and delivery ward was mayhem today, every single room and bed taken and c-section after c-section happening.

So we'll just leave this in God's hands until Wednesday. Wednesday is a cool date: 10-12-11 or 12-10-11, however you arrange it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

36 Weeks!

This is it. Today has been our goal this whole pregnancy. "Just let me get to 36. 36 would be ideal." And here we are!

Even my regular Dr is surprised and impressed that we've made it this far. I think she even used the word 'unbelievable' today at what was likely my last regular maternity apt of the pregnancy.

I'm measuring 40 weeks in size and things feel very tight. I have lots of braxton-hicks contractions each day and this morning I even had a real contraction....real honest to God contraction. But just one.

I am on high alert to all the changes and twinges in my body and eagerly/anxiously pay close attention to ensure I feel our boy still moving around. I really think at any moment my water could break and today could be the day.

Tomorrow we'll have our ultrasound, non-stress test and the OB consult where he'll check me. He'll make the call whether we induce this week or try to wait till next week. I don't know what to wish for.

I would feel nervous heading into a long weekend praying not to go into labour for the next 3 days. BUT an extra week of lung development would probably be good. BUT neither I, nor the Dr's, really want a twin delivery to happen over a weekend.

There will be 14 people in the operating room for this delivery, even if it's vaginal and everything goes like clockwork. We want them all to be refreshed and on their game....not grumpy or tired from being called in from their Thanks Giving feasts or missing their family fun.

I think I'm having a contraction..... gotta go. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

35.5 weeks

I have a feeling this is the week. So much so that the hospital bag is packed and the car seats installed. So much so that the camera is being packed and this will likely be my last maternity shot....sans makeup and everything.
35.5 weeks and about 48lbs weight gain.




Keep growing babies. Keep getting stronger. We look forward to meeting you face to face.