Preemie Stuff

Click here for a list of resources for parents of preemies

Hayden and Logan came crashing into this world on June 20,2008.  They were not supposed to be here until September 6th.  Being pregnant with twins, I was told repeatedly that it was likely the boys would be born around 3 weeks early, as twins often do not make it full term. But TWELVE weeks?  The thought never entered my mind.  Even now, 4 years later, I am dealing with the scars of their 71 day NICU stay.  Let me break it to you, prematurity sucks.  Bottom line.  Even though medical science has made great strides making it possible for babies born barely weighing a pound to survive, it still sucks.

Logan The week prior to their birth I had been in and out of the hospital numerous times.  I was one of those “frequent fliers” you nurses refer to, at least for a week.  I was having some serious kick your ass stomach pains.  Not contractions, no my little basketball was definitely not contracting, so the thought of giving birth never entered my mind.  I kinda felt like someone was stabbing my stomach with a fork, repeatedly.  I was a hot mess.  Nausea, vomiting, pain and then poof it would disappear, after I had gone to the hospital, of course.

The morning of their birth I fought the pain as long as I could before I succumbed to yet another trip to the MTT (maternity, treatment, and triage) floor.   Hayden After administering some morphine for the pain, ah, yes, sweet bliss and a battery of tests, concluding with a C/T scan, I was taken straight to Labor & Delivery, but they didn’t tell me were going to deliver.  Not the best communicator, these hospital people.  But I’ll throw ‘em a bone, since, you know, they saved my life and all.

Turns out I had HELLP syndrome and my liver enzymes were so crazy high that my liver could have ruptured at any second.  Scary stuff.

Because my platelets were so low, they were unable to administer a spinal epidural for my c-section, which to be honest, was okay with me.  Just thinking about that ridiculously long needle still gives me the heebie jeebies. So general anesthesia, it was.  I have no recollection of the birth of my children.  Let me tell you, I would have taken a needle for that one.

Turkeys spent 71 days in the hospital.  Their strength was inspiring.  I, their mother, drew all of my strength from them.  In retrospect, I look at their time in the NICU as a blessing in disguise.  After all, they did come home on a schedule.  How many mother’s of newborns would have given their left arm for the kid to come home from the hospital on a schedule?  They ate every four hours like clockwork.  It was a beautiful thing.  Numerous resources were available to our family that would not have been available had the twins not been premature.  So, all in all, we survived it.  We made it.

In the next several days, you will be able to find a plethora of resources on prematurity.  This page will be a beacon of information for parents of preemies and their loved ones.  If you have any questions or if you have a favorite preemie site you would like me to include, please shoot me an email at twinshappenblog@gmail.com.

NICU:  The Journal

From our caring bridge website:

6/21/08

I got see my boys for the very first time, more than 24 hours after I gave birth. My L&D nurse Mary Beth gave me pictures on Friday. I couldn’t believe they were here, so little and so early. I was in so much pain from the C-section that I couldn’t even make it into a wheelchair. Thank God my nurses understood the need to see my boys. It was such a pain in the ass, but they got me up to the NICU in my bed and into the room so I could see them. They had to move their isolettes down for me to see them. It was so overwhelming, all the tubes and cords, all keeping my babies alive. They had been breathing so well that the ventilator had been removed.

Mom and Dad got here tonight. I was so happy to see them. They had just come to visit for the first time 3 weeks ago and here they were again. Holly picked them up from the airport for me. I got moved to the mom/baby floor tonight. No more intensive care for me, which means I finally got to have visitors. I got to talk to several of my friends and told them all about our scary time.

It was so weird, because from the time they were born, I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that they would make it. I just knew they would be fine.

The boys had to be re-intubated but were still able to snuggle

6/24/08

I got released from the hospital today, after numerous pokes, prods, 2 blood transfusions, and several trips up to the NICU. I also changed the boys’ diapers for the first time today and did their cares. “Cares” includes changing of the diaper, temperature, changing their pulse ox, and swabbing their mouths. They are so tiny. I watch David go first and I am amazed at the ease at which he does this. He looks so comfortable. I am so proud of him.

Leaving the hospital without my babies was one of the hardest things I had to do. I did have one chuckle though. I asked David to grab me a shirt from home and what does he get? A long sleeve thick maternity shirt and it’s the middle of June. Geez, men! When we left, I did my best to hold back the tears but I couldn’t. I felt so bad for mom and dad, because I know they just wanted to comfort me, but there was nothing anyone could do. Straight from the hospital we went to Target, because I had to purchase a breast pump. There was never any doubt in my mind about pumping either, even though I grew to hate it with a passion. I know that it was the one thing only I could give my boys that the hospital couldn’t. I remember walking through Target with tears streaming down my face as I looked at all the baby stuff.

Over the next several days, I got to hold my babies for the first time. We did kangaroo care. It was the most wonderful experience in the world, holding my babies so close to me. I could have sat there forever. I was truly humbled by them and how hard they had to work just to stay alive.

6/29/08

Today was my baby shower! A lot of people thought I was crazy for still going through with it. But it was a healing experience for me. I wanted to see our friends and talk about our miracle babies and show pictures. I wanted to get presents so we could start decorating the nursery. It was a beautiful day. Aunt Mildred and Kay surprised me. That was so wonderful for them to make the trip. They got to see the babies which was so nice. Everyone was amazing. We are so blessed to have a wonderful family here.

6/30/08

The boys have been having numerous apnea/bradycardia spells where they stop breathing for 10 or more seconds and their heart rates drop. They were having about 12 a day, so the doc decided to re-intubate them. God, was that hard to see. I just felt like they had taken huge steps back. It was so painful for me to see them open their little mouths to cry and then nothing comes out. I still got to hold them, which was amazing, I was just so scared that I would hurt them with those big tubes coming out of their mouths.

I have gotten my schedule down. It is weird not working, that’s for sure. I wake up at 8:00, pump and shower, head to the NICU, get there by 10:00am. Do their cares and hang out until about 5. Then David and I come back together in the evenings. I had a hard time at first. I wanted to stay there all the time, but started going stir crazy. I decided that as long as I was there for their cares, and eventually the majority of their feedings then that was okay.

The following weeks are a bit of a blur. I will copy some of my entries from our caring bridge website.

7/12/08
Hayden and Logan are steadily progressing. They hit the 3 lb mark this week. It is amazing how “big” 3 lbs looks now :) Logan is now taking 20 ml of fortified breast milk. He receives this through a tiny tube through his nose. He no longer needs to receive any nutrients intravenously, which is a huge milestone. Hayden is taking slower steps. He had some troubles with digestion last week which set him back a bit. He is taking 6 ml every three hours. He is still getting supplemental nutrition through an IV. They are on 3L of oxygen to help with there breathing. They can’t start breastfeeding until the oxygen is gone, so that is the next big goal. Overall, these two little miracles are doing very well. No infections, or illnesses so far. Within the next couple of weeks, they will have vision and hearing tests. I think everything will turn out fine on those ends. Yesterday, they were both so alert and peaceful. They have such beautiful eyes. I am trying to take more photos, but I am no Eric Graves :)

7/15/08
Hayden and Logan are moving right along this week! Hayden is weighing in at a whopping 3 lbs and 7 oz (that’s almost 3 1/2 pounds). Logan is a little smaller at 3 lbs 1oz. I was a little confused by this because Logan is eating a lot more than Hayden, but I think that Hayden weighs more because he is still getting the supplemental calories and nutrients through his IV whereas Logan is just getting a little fortified breast milk. Speaking of eating Hayden is already up to 15 ml of milk and Logan is up to 26 ml of milk.

We had to bump Hayden up to 4 L of oxygen because he has been having about 5 spells a day. What’s a spell, you ask… Apnea, which is a lapse of breathing and Bradycardia, which is a drop in heart rate, combine together to form a spell (hospital slang). Spells aren’t too serious, unless they start having a dozen or more a day. They freak out mom and dad because the monitors start going crazy. Because their brains are still developing, they sometimes just forget to breathe. When they have a spell, the nurse, or me, just stimulates them a little by rubbing their feet or hands, giving them a friendly little reminder to take a breath.

We have started putting clothes on them also. I accidently shrunk some of their preemie clothes, which actually worked out perfectly, because they actually fit. It’s amazing how much bigger they look when you put an outfit on.

7/20/08
Hayden and Logan have had a relatively good week. Thursday, they both had low hemoglobin levels and had numerous spells, so a blood transfusion was ordered. By Saturday, they had both perked up. Logan had his last spell Saturday morning at 9am and Hayden’s last one was at 5am on Saturday morning. So we are almost 48 hours spell free, which is amazing.

Hayden’s belly troubles have seemed to resolve. He is now off the IV feedings and up to 22 ml of milk. The next step is to add the fortification to make sure he can tolerate that. Logan is at 28 ml of milk every 3 hours. They are both poo-ing regularly (stinky!!!).
Logan weighs 3lbs 4 oz and Hayden is at 3 lbs 5 oz. Hayden dropped a little bit, but he also gained it fast, so they think it was mostly water weight. I am thinking Logan will start trying to breast feed in a week, and Hayden shouldn’t be too far behind.

They are starting to be much more vocal now. Usually when they are hungry and pooing, they are fussy. I love the sounds of their cries though. It sounds amazing. I’m sure that will change with times.

7/25/08
Well, we have had a great day here! Logan and Hayden have both moved to open cribs! They are all bundled up, of course, and snuggly wuggly :)

Logan had his oxygen removed today. So the only tube left to be removed is the feeding tube. He has had 2 spells in the 2 days since he moved to room air, which isn’t too shabby. Hayden should be moved to room air within the next two days as well.

They both are up to 30 ml of milk with Hayden receiving a little more fortification because his weight is to 3 lbs 6 oz. Logan is at 3 lbs 8oz. They may drop a little more in the next couple of days, because they are having to work a little harder at keeping warm and nuzzling.

They are both nuzzling now. Nuzzling is basically just practice breastfeeding. Logan has been nuzzling for a couple of days and Hayden started today. I think we will be starting actualy breastfeeding with Logan either today or tomorrow.
The best part about today is that I was able to pick them up whenever I wanted. I didn’t have to ask, I didn’t have to get help. I really felt like a mom today. When either of them was fussing, I could actually comfort and soothe. It was amazing!!

7/27/08

The boys continue to amaze me! Hayden had his oxygen removed today. They both started nursing yesterday. They were really successful! The first time Logan got 2.5 ml and Hayden got 3 ml. The second time Logan got 6 ml and Hayden got 8 ml. They of course fed them through their tubes to get up to 30 ml for both. Once they get the nursing thing down, they will start bottle-feeding, so that Dad and the grandparents get to have some feeding time too. Plus, I have to do something with all this milk I have frozen :) David and I even had to buy a new refrigerator with a bigger freezer to accomodate all my milk.

They both weigh 3lbs 9 oz. They are still having sporadic spells. They need to be spell free for 5 days before they can come home. Yes, I did say come home! The nurses said that if they continue moving on the path they are on that it is very realistic for them to be home within 2-3 weeks. Time to start making David’s “honeydew list.” Hee, hee.

7/30/08

Hi everyone! Hayden and Logan are doing great. They both weigh 3 lbs 12 oz. Logan has really taken to the breastfeeding, getting about 15-20 ml most of the time. Hayden is having a little rougher time, (shocking, I know :). We have to use a nipple shield with him, because he was having trouble latching on. Only trouble with that is, I think he has to suck harder to get the same amount of milk. Which, he doesn’t feel like doing most of the time :)

For the next few days, I will keep doing about 2-3 feedings a day and then I’ll bump it up to 4. Once they start taken 1/3 of their milk through nursing, then lactation says we can introduce the bottle. Once that happens, we are truly in the home stretch. Amazing.
David has been wonderful with his “to do” list. I am very proud of dad. The boys love him and always make sure to have an extra stinky diaper when its his turn. Trust me, I get my fair share too.

8/1/08
Okay, the countdown begins! Hayden and Logan hasve been eating by mouth for almost 48 hours. The feeding tube will be removed tomorrow morning. Now they MUST go spell free for 5 full days before they can be released. They don’t mess around with this either. So the countdown for Logan began at 7 am this morning and the countdown for Hayden began at 12 pm this afternoon. I brought the carseats in today for all the testing on those. So exciting, so close. We can’t wait.

8/4/08
Hello everyone! Hayden and Logan both broke the 4 lb mark yesterday! We are so proud of them! The feedings are continuing. Just today, Hayden took three bottles in a row. I am still trying to nurse at least 2 times per day, but the bottle will get them home much more quickly. They are both doing so well. I haven’t talked to the doctor in a few days, but tomorrow I am going to find out if August 15th sounds like a good discharge date. Cross your fingers.

8/6/08

Okay, the countdown begins! Hayden and Logan hasve been eating by mouth for almost 48 hours. The feeding tube will be removed tomorrow morning. Now they MUST go spell free for 5 full days before they can be released. They don’t mess around with this either. So the countdown for Logan began at 7 am this morning and the countdown for Hayden began at 12 pm this afternoon. I brought the carseats in today for all the testing on those. So exciting, so close. We can’t wait.
8/8/08

Well, the boys decided to be naughty on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I think it was because I brought the car seats in and they panicked :) They both had numerous spells. The doctor thought these might be an indicator of infection. But both tests came back fine. Mr. Logan’s hemoglobin levels have been low. In the past, they would have given him blood, but since he is “older” now, the doctors really want to see if he can bring them up on his own. This was probably the reason he was having so many spells. It has been almost 24 hours since they both have had a spell…so let’s see what these boys are made of.
I almost forgot!!! The feeding tubes are out of their noses. So they are now tubeless. Will send pictures soon.

8/10/08

The boys apparently are not ready to go home yet :) They both, after 3 days, decided to have spells within minutes of each other this morning. So the countdown begins again. During last week’s blood work, Hayden had elevated indirect billirubin levels so they are doing a liver ultrasound tomorrow, just to make sure there is no damage. I’m sure it will be fine, seeing as though they didn’t order it last week when the blood work was completed. They will also check Logan’s hemoglobin levels again. His color has improved so I think (hope) that those are on the up and up.

8/11/08

Hi all! I’ve got some good news and not so good news today. Good news is that the boys have now doubled their birthweight. Hayden is weighing in at 4 lbs 11.9 oz. and Logan is 4 lbs 9.8 oz. Also, Hayden’s ultrasound came back today. Nothing serious with his liver, but he does have a gall stone, which explains the elevated billirubin levels. The doctor’s seem to think that the situation will resolve itself. Hemoglobins on both boys are still low, but doctor’s still not going to give blood. There having more blood work on Thursday.
Not so good news – the boys will likely not be home for a least another week and a half. The fact that they are going for a couple days with no spells and then 2-3 spells in one day is indicating to the doctors that they are not quite ready. That was hard to hear today, especially now that they are getting so big and have no more tubes and eating well. So the countdown is suspended until further notice :)

8/13/08

We had a super fun night with the boys. While daddy was feeding Logan, I got to give Hayden his first tub bath (pictures will come tomorrow…I forgot the camera at the hospital). He did so well. I was very surprised as last night he screamed bloody murder the entire time I was changing his diaper and clothes. I just popped the binky in his mouth, undressed him, took the cords off, wrapped him in a warm blanket and put him in the baby bath. We started with the face and then pulled his left arm out and then the right arm and continued with the rest of his little body. We dried him off, wrapped him in a warm blanket and then he ate. The whole time he just sucked on his binky and kept his eyes closed. He loved it!!! After eating, he and I had cuddle time. It was a fabulous night. Logan did really well with daddy too. He took his bottle in record time. He’ll get his bath at his midnight feeding.

8/17/08

Well, nothing new here really! Boys are still doing well, just packing on the pounds. There is a slight possibility that Logan might come home tomorrow, but I am not getting my hopes up. Plus, I kind of want them to come home together. We are all ready for them. Everything is put together, washed, hung up, put away etc. They are due for their 2 month immunizations tomorrow. Can you believe it has been 2 months?!? Shockingly enough it has gone by rather quickly. I’ll let you know what the verdict is on Logan as soon as I know.

8/18/08

I just got off the phone with the hospital. The boys’ hemoglobin levels dropped to below 8.0 so the doctor did order a blood transfusion for both. He really thinks that this will help with the spells, so these two can finally go home! They will get blood today and tomorrow. Immunizations will be on Wednesday. Other than that, they are great….eating like champs and working on being the cutest twin boys in the NICU (and world, of course).

8/20/08

The blood transfusions are going well. Hayden didn’t get his second one yesterday, so he is getting it today. The IV’s in their little hands went bad, so that had to put IV’s in their heads. It looks a little funny, but the nurses assure me, it doesn’t feel any different than the hand. The boys don’t even seem to notice they are there. So far, the blood seems to be working. Logan is on day 2 completely spell free and Hayden is at day 1 spell free. Right now, we are looking at Saturday and Sunday respectively for their discharge dates.
Their weights are great. Logan is weighing in at 5 lbs 11 oz and Hayden is 5 lbs 7 oz. If they keep it up, I won’t be able to use those preemie diapers I have at home.
After much discussion, David and I have decided to purchase a new vehicle. We are looking at mid size SUVs. I think we will be able to get a great deal, with the way the economy is right now. We have to start preparing for the big road trip to Ohio next summer for brother’s wedding :) We all know there is no way, I can pack all the kids’ stuff in a grand prix for a 10 day vacation. Hopefully, we will have that by next week.
Today is the boys 2 month birthday! Crazy! I met a woman set to give birth to only one baby on my original due date which was Sept. 6, and she was huge! I would have certainly been doubly big.

8/24/08

T – minus 24 hours and counting!!!! Boys are great, obviously :) Logan is at 6 lbs 2 oz and Hayden is at 5 lbs 12 oz. No more preemie diapers for my boys! Most of their preemie clothes are too big as well. Even after they come home, I will keep this website going for awhile. We had a photographer on Wednesday, so as soon as those images are ready, I will post the website on here so you all can view them. Keep your fingers crossed.

8/25/08

Well, we have some great news and not so great news (again). Logan behaved himself through the night and is home with us right now enjoying his bottle with daddy. Mr. Hayden, on the other hand, decided to be naughty and have a spell last night at 1:30 am. I was rather distraught when I got the phone call. So that means 5 more days. It was difficult to deal with this morning, but I know that everything happens for a reason. God has a plan, and it wasn’t his plan to bring the boys home together. This will give David and I a chance to get used to having babies at home. Mom and Dad are going to go ahead a fly out tomorrow. They can spend some solo grandparent time with Hayden at the hospital. So Welcome Home Logan Charles Boring. We are so glad you are here

8/30/08

Today is the day!!! Both our boys are home! Hayden decided it was pretty boring at the hospital without his brother so he behaved himself. We are so happy to have them here happy and healthy. Our little 2 lb miracles are now almost 7 lbs each! It is amazing what medical science and some prayers can accomplish. Thank you all so much for all your support. I will post the link to the pictures when I get it. I will also continue posting information about the boys on here for those of you who continue to read and check in. We love you all! WELCOME HOME HAYDEN ERIC AND LOGAN CHARLES BORING!