We are thankful they are both doing so well.
We are thankful that we made it to the doctor's office in time.
We are thankful that I did not require surgery and was able to see them right away.
We are thankful for all of the nurses and doctors who assisted with both me and the babies, and for the team that transferred them to St. Mary's.
We are thankful for the overwhelming support that we've received from everyone - family, friends, strangers.
I have faith that the boys will come home when they were originally supposed to come. We may have a battle ahead, as they're not supposed to be here yet, but we'll get there.
I am starting this blog to keep people updated with their status and to prevent us from copying and pasting the same information into many emails...I need to make an audio version as well :)
I woke up Monday morning around 6 or so, feeling like someone was stepping on my bladder. They were super active the whole night and I commented to Stephen that they had been fighting all night. In the next hour or so, it started to feel more like slight cramps that were lasting about 30 seconds, and coming about 5-10 minutes apart..so I went online to look up the difference between real labor and Braxton Hicks, and was reassured by everything that I read that this couldn't be real. It wasn't really painful, it was way too early, and my pregnancy had been progressing beautifully.
I took Anna to school, and left a message for my ob/gyn's office to call me back. I made it into work, and started a spreadsheet to list the timing, while waiting for the return call. The "cramps" started to get a little more painful, so I called back at 8:38 to talk to the nurse and make sure I could be seen soon. She was able to get me an appointment at 8:45, which luckily I could make since work is close by, as long as I was there by 8:50. At this point, I still just wanted reassurance that nothing was wrong.
I made it to my ob's office at 8:50 and signed in. The next 5 minutes were a blur - I sat down in the waiting room, saw the bathroom in the office, got back up to use it, realized I was feeling the need to push, flagged down a few nurses and told them that I was not quite 26 weeks pregnant with twins, it was too early to be in labor, but when I went to the restroom it felt like a baby was going to come out...they told me it was okay to use the bathroom...so I did and with one push William was out. In the toilet.
The nurses and doctor responded fairly quickly to my screams for help. They brought him to the NICU, and wheeled me to labor & delivery. I was still having contractions, so one of the nurses held my hand while the doctor finished breaking my water and checked Aaron's status. Stephen had made it to the hospital at this point. Aaron was butt and leg down - emergency C-Section for him! They whisked me away into the surgery room and had me almost fully prepped, and Stephen waiting in the hallway. I was hoping to be knocked out quickly because the contractions were stronger, and then again felt the need to push. The doctor confirmed that Aaron was ready to come out on his own...one push and he was out.
The boys and I were transferred to St. Mary's, as Memorial Regional does not provide care for infants born so early. (First ambulance rides for all of us ...I guess we owe someone ice cream, as was pointed out by the Henrico guys who transferred me :) ) We were able to see William and Aaron as soon as they were settled in the NICU, which was great. Because the labor was fairly easy for me, all things considered, I've been up and walking around pretty much since birth, which has been a blessing.
After the shock
Everyone is holding up well. Anna has been in to see her brothers twice. It's a bit overwhelming for her with all of the machines and tubing. We're going to work around her schedule as much as possible, as her life will change enough once they're actually home.
We have a long few months ahead with William and Aaron. From what we've been told, it will be a rollercoaster with good days and bad days. My philosophy is that they aren't supposed to be here yet, so the NICU is substituting for me right now and will do the best they can. We have to trust them, and the babies will come home when they are supposed to come home. The current estimate is that they will be in the NICU until their 40 week due date of October 5th, but this could and probably will change.
I know everyone will want to know how they are doing - please don't be offended if my response is as robust as just "They're fine". I'm more concerned about the overall picture than the details right now, because everything that is happening may sound negative, but is completely normal for their situation.
Examples: They have PDA - patent ductus arteriosis. This is when a duct in the heart - open in the womb - does not close when the child is born. This is very common in preemies, and even some full term babies. Last night, they both started a 3 day medication to hopefully close the duct. If the medicine doesn't work within 2 rounds, they will have surgery.
Both babies are having blood transfusions today. We were told on Monday that this is also common, and would probably happen within the first few days. The doctors are taking blood out of them and they have so little already that it now needs to be supplemented. They may have a few transfusions depending on how things go. The blood for each will always come from the same donor, which I did not know.
Both had head ultrasounds today to look for bleeding in the brain. We don't know the results of this yet. The ultrasound is usually done 10 days after birth, but was moved up given the circumstances of their births.
I have started pumping and will continue doing so until they can feed from me (and when I go back to work). I'm now considering this my job - it's one of the best things they can get, and even though they can't digest any milk now, anything that I can get out can be used for oral care.
How we're dealing
The amount of support we have received from everyone is amazing. I've received several emails through church, RAMOM, and Richmond Mommies, from people who have gone through similar experiences. This is the most helpful gift I can receive right now - words of encouragement and positive stories from people who have been here. Please know that we are reading everything anyone sends, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
I believe we're both handling the situation well - we will get through it, and we will do everything we can to make sure the babies come home healthy. We know there will be good days and bad days. Please keep the prayers going, as they seem to be helping so far :)
They're only 2 days old, but so far William seems to be more laid back while Aaron is the fighter. He's always moving around and trying to get situated. I think he just wants to suck his thumb :)
Here are a few pictures: