12 April 2016

the first months


The past four months have been some of the hardest of my life.
Recovery from surgery was rough and adjusting to life with twin babies has been exhausting.
I've been hesitant to post this because of the fact that I prayed and hoped for a baby for so long. I feel so guilty for not completely enjoying motherhood. but this is honest and real and important to record.

+The 2 weeks following their birth were hard.  Looking back, I think everything was much more traumatic than I realized. It was all very sudden, and it was my first time needing to be in a hospital (for surgery nonetheless). Obviously my hormones and emotions were all over the place and trying to deal with a broken body was no fun (i.e. living in fear of sneezing hah). I did find out that I had developed a hematoma under my incision, which called for two dr. appointments per week to get it drained. Lovely.

+ Being wheeled out of the hospital, and stepping into a car with empty car seats was heartbreaking. Not to mention, I was at 4 days PP and my milk had still not come in. Everything felt wrong.

+ Speaking of milk coming in - I got plenty of people telling me about the lack of sleep, the lack of showers, and the painful recovery. But NO ONE told me about engorgement. NO ONE. and I even took a breastfeeding class. It was painful and it was a mess. Not to mention, I was told by a Lactation Consultant that if I didn't have my baby feed often at the breast, that I could get mastitis. Thanks, I only have access to a pump as my babies are currently in the hospital... cue emotional breakdown.

+In a previous post I mentioned that the thing I was most scared about was the lack of sleep. Oh I had no idea what was coming for me. I knew babies ate around the clock - but for some reason I didn't think about what that actually meant. I didn't understand that I'd have to sleep in tiny increments for weeks at a time. No one can prepare you for how tired you will be. At the same time, who knew the body could actually survive off of so little sleep?

+Here's a bit more honesty than I'm normally willing to share - - I'm still trying to recover and adjust, both emotionally and physically. Physically, having a baby just does a number on your body. A very wise friend of mine reminded me that it takes 9 months to get your body to stretch and carry that baby (or babies), and its going to take at least 9 months for you to feel like it's back to full functioning power again. I still hate my scar, my messed up/stretch mark covered boobs make me cringe, and my core is completely wasted, but it's all a work in progress, and I'm learning to love my body again.
    Emotionally I was a wreck up until a couple weeks ago. Very soon after having the twins I began to have anxiety attacks over the dumbest things. I was anxious for Scott to go back to work, anxious to be alone, anxious to be away from the babies, anxious to have anyone else around the babies. I had a hard time bonding with the twins and legitimately believed my life was awful and would never get better. Getting out of bed in the morning was so hard - I dreaded each day. I constantly felt like screaming out that my life wasn't normal.  After dealing with this for months, and having it get worse and worse, I finally talked to my OB and we worked through some different options. I'm now on medication and can honestly say it was the best decision for me. Days are still hard, but I no longer dread getting up. I don't feel weepy all the time and I sincerely love and am excited to see my babies. I've taken a complete 180 and it feels so much better.

+That being said, having children makes you so vulnerable and breaks you down to your very core. Yet, we're expected to put on a mask, and act like we have it all together. I've found that women truly need each other during this time - to bring each other up, and instill confidence in one another when we feel our weakest. We focus so much on this sweet baby, when we need to stop and take a moment to look into that exhausted mother's eyes, and just let her cry on your shoulder.
 
+The weeks and months have rocked my world in more ways than one. I never expected birth/recovery to look the way that it did, but I love looking back and see the progress I've made. I've learned so much about myself and feel like I finally have a semi-grasp on life. Birth just does a number to you all around. It's amazing we survive.
       


08 April 2016

NICU babies




Our babies were in the NICU for 15 days. NEVER would I had ever imagined I would have a child in the NICU. I actually completely skipped the entire chapter that covered everything about the NICU in a twin book I read. I seriously did not believe this would ever be me.

Although we had a pretty smooth run with the NICU, here is some advice for any that might have little ones in the hospital.

1. Take those car seats out of the car as soon as possible. I really wish ours were not still in the car when I came home from the hospital. It was an awful reminder of the fact that we didn't have them with us.

2. Visit often, but also don't overdo it. I went once or twice a day. I've hard of parents who basically lived there. They would pack up three meals, bring a pillow and blanket, and seriously camp out next to the isolette for 12 hours or more. The neonatologist called me once a day to update me on the babies' progress, and I had to trust that my babies were in good hands while I was away. This leads me to the next point:

3. GET REST. I cannot stress this enough. You're dealing with so many things, physically and emotionally - give your body and mind a break, and sleep! Its quite the love/hate relationship. You'll feel guilty because your babies are in the hospital, but really, take advantage of the help and get some rest to recover faster.

4. Be kind to the nurses, but also stand up to them if necessary. Scott was so impressive to me when I first went to the NICU. He knew the nurses names, their shifts, and all the medical lingo. He could rattle off to me our babies' stats and knew what numbers were good and bad. These people are taking care of your children - learn their names and ask them about their lives.
That being said, YOU are the parents. Ask questions, get answers, and take charge. At one point they wouldn't let Scott hold the babies unless he did skin-to-skin. For some reason I was allowed to hold them without doing skin-to-skin, but Scott wasn't. The next time we went in, I spoke to the charge nurse, and asked that they respected our wishes and let my husband hold his own darn children.

5. Be prepared to panic when your babies are given the OK. Scott and I went in to visit the babies on a Friday afternoon, and the nurse asked us to bring back the car seats because our babies were being discharged that evening. We were thrilled, but quickly began to panic. After so many days of praying for our babies to come home, we were suddenly and completely freaked out.



04 April 2016

Twins Birth Story:: Part 2


Unfortunately, from this point on, my experience went downhill.

Following my c section, they wheeled my babies in one direction and me in another. I was hooked up to Magnesium - a beastly medicine that helps prevent seizures from preeclampsia.
A breast pump was set by my side, accompanied by an elderly Lactation Consultant who quickly gave me vague pumping instructions. (Luckily, after the LC left, my kind nurse stashed the pump in the corner of the room and ordered me to hold off on pumping for that first night so that I could get some much needed rest.)

The next 24 hours were hell.
I was nauseous, dizzy, tired, and unable to keep down any food.
My muscles were heavy and the catheter burned. The night was spent grasping Scott's hand in pain. All along I was counting down the hours until I could see my babies.

Finally, around 10pm the next night, I was finally taken off the Magnesium, and began the process of moving and getting up so that I could go to the NICU. I was naive enough to think I could immediately go see my babies - especially because it would take some time for the effects of the meds to wear off. First was simply moving my legs, then sitting up, and finally walking to the bathroom to clean up.

Scott was amazing. I'll never forget the loving look he gave me as I was hunched over, tears in my eyes, using all my energy to take each slow, pathetic step to the bathroom. He was there the whole way - helping me bend down to sit on the toilet and to get all cleaned up.  I felt so defeated, embarrassed, and broken down, but he was there to hold me every step of the way. 

Around 1am, and with a total of 28 hours after I birthed my two little babes, Scott pushed me in a wheelchair to the NICU. I was exhausted, but so excited. When we arrived at the unit, I was greeted with rows upon rows of isolettes and varying beeping noises. Our babies were in the farthest corner away from the front entrance (a good thing - means they were not in critical condition).

I saw baby girl first. Her tiny face was overtaken by the oxygen tubes. She had cords and tape all over her red skinny body, but she was the sweetest little thing. I remember thinking she looked so "soft." I went over to baby boy, who was curled up on his side. I opened an isolette door, and put my finger next to his tiny hand. He immediately grabbed my finger, and tears came to my eyes. After so many exhausting and trying hours, all of my emotions poured out. Sadness. Joy. Pain. Gratitude. Grief. Love.


I remember feeling like it was all unfair. It was unfair that we had to go through this with family far away. It was unfair that it was so sudden and I wasn't able to feel a little more prepared. It was unfair that I didn't get to see my babies and have that skin-to-skin bonding right after birth. It wasn't fair that they were strapped up to feeding tubes and I couldn't breastfeed them. 

While looking back, so many varying emotions surface and I'm sometimes still filled with anger over how things happened. But honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I definitely do not want to ever go through that again. But through it all, I was stretched and pulled in so many ways, and was pushed into the person I needed to be for these babies. This was their birth, and no matter what, it was such a sacred thing. 









Twins Birth Story:: Part 1


Four months since the babies have been born - it's about time I got around to this!
Little did I know that just two weeks after my 32 week update, I'd be in the hospital with little twins.  Here's the story to play catch up:

I was just 34 weeks, and had scheduled my C-section for December 6th (3 weeks later). I was excited and nervous, and thought I should probably get my butt into gear and pack a hospital bag.

The following day, I went to a routine checkup at my OB office, where the PA kept commenting on my swollen feet. She checked my vitals and found that I had high blood pressure and protein in my urine. They had me get some blood-work done before I left, and told me they'd update me the following day. I didn't think anything of it, so it didn't cross my mind to update my parents. Instead, I went to target to finish off some last minute shopping.

The next day (Thursday, Nov. 19) I was feeling extra lazy and sick of the third trimester. As a reason to get out of the house, I decided to meet Scott at Shake Shack during his lunch break. While there, my nurse called and told me she wanted me to go to the hospital for some more testing. I was semi-nervous, and didn't think anything would come of it. Luckily Scott was able to get off of work for the rest of the day so that he could go with me.

We got to the hospital around 2pm. They gave me a hospital gown, strapped me up to the monitors, and began to test my vitals. Of course, they gave us no indication of what was going on, but finally after an hour or so said they were going to admit me - it looked like I could be on bedrest at the hospital. After more hours of being at the hospital, the doctor on call came in to talk to me around 7pm. He began to explain to me that tests showed I had preeclampsia and would need to deliver within the next 72 hours, based on it's severity. Scott quickly ran home to get my (mostly packed) hospital bag, and called family to let them know.


Within the next half hour, I found out it was a bit more severe than I realized (my blood pressure was reading at a 160/101!). I was on the phone with Scott, telling him what to pack for the hospital, when the doctor and a group of nurses suddenly came into the room. Surprise! The doctors said it was time to get me prepped for surgery - my preeclampsia was severe so I was going to deliver within the next hour! I quickly told Scott to get his butt back to the hospital, because we were having these babies now. He yelled back "don't let them start without me!"

After that everything was a bit of a blur. A doctor came in to explain the procedure, while nurses began to poke and prod my body. Scott came back just in time to get himself ready and I was rolled out of the room by 8:30pm. Walking into the operating room was the weirdest experience. I always knew I'd need to deliver in the OR, but actually being there was mind boggling. I had also never had surgery or any type of hospital visit - my only real knowledge comes from Grey's Anatomy (I'll have you know the room was considerably more boring than the show's ORs)


Sadly, Scott wasn't allowed into the OR until I was prepped and ready to go. It was a little scary to get ready without him there, but thankfully the nurses and doctors were super kind. The spinal block completely terrified me - but thank the heavens the anesthesiologist was such a kind man. He walked me through it and I barely felt a thing. However, quickly after receiving the spinal block, I felt awful. Not only could I not feel my legs (which is the creepiest sensation), but my head started spinning and I felt like I was going to throw up. Apparently this happened because the spinal block lowered my blood pressure so fast. Again, praise the heavens for the anesthesiologist because he pumped me full of some other awesome meds to help me see straight (can you tell I just LOVED my anesthesiologist?). The curtain then went up, and Scott walked over to my side.

I still couldn't believe this was all happening. There were bright lights, lots of people in the room (thankfully out of sight), the smell of the antiseptic, and some seriously weird japanese techno music. Scott stood next to me the whole time, and watched the whole procedure (I can't even imagine how he stomached that).



Suddenly, the OB asked for the music to be turned off and for everyone to be quiet. It went so quiet and I felt a bit of pressure and a couple of tugs. Suddenly the doctor said, "Here she is!" followed by the sweetest little kitten-like cry. Hearing my baby's first cries was such an other-worldly experience. I was so overwhelmed with love and joy. I looked over at Scott who had the sweetest look on his face.  Baby girl was held above the curtain, and I saw the tiniest little purple-ish baby! After a couple of minutes, and a bit more aggressive tugging, I heard another tiny cry, and baby boy was held above the curtain. I was in so much shock that those were my babies, but I was just so happy and felt such a sacred peace.






24 February 2016

Rainier


Rainier Vincent Nelson
4 lbs 9 oz :: 18.5 in  :: 9:17 pm

Name Meaning: I had promised Scott a while back that we could include the name Rainier into our baby boy's name. At first I wasn't in love with the idea, but it was the one name Scott adored. When I first met baby boy in the NICU, and he held on to my finger with all his little strength, I immediately thought, "my little Rainey." And so Rainier became his first name.
Vincent is after a friend of ours in Paris (going along with a french theme).

Personality:
Rainey is quite the cuddler. He's definitely a people person, and loves to smile and socialize. He's wide eyed and hates to sleep (yay). He's super vocal, both in fussiness and with cute coos. He loves nursing, and could probably be attached to the boob all day if I let him.

He's peed into his face way more times than I can count, and snorts/grunts/makes the dorkiest noises often. As of 3 months, he weighs 11.5 lbs! He can focus on faces and toys and can almost hold his head up on his own. As of late, he loves munching on his hand whenever he gets the chance.

He has the sweetest face and will definitely be a mama's boy.

Birth

                                  1 Month                                            2 Months



Claire


Claire Elouise Nelson

4 lbs 4 oz :: 18 in :: 9:15pm

Name Meaning:
When Scott and I were newly married, we always felt like we'd have a little girl first. As time went on, I mentioned that I loved the name Claire and it stuck. When I found out I was having twins, I was semi disappointed because I assumed our "first" baby wouldn't be a girl. Quickly enough, we found out that Baby A was a girl, and it all seemed to fit into place.
She is also named after Clermont-Ferrand - where Scott lived while we were dating.

Elouise is after the Lumineers song by the same name, and Lake Louise in Canada.

Personality:
Claire is a little sweetheart who tends to be a little more quiet. We call her "little bear" and love to dote on her. She has beautiful big eyes and if you can catch it, a darling smile. She does NOT like to cuddle and keeps to herself. She loves sleeping and is really good at falling asleep on her own. She's petite and long, but is finally starting to get some cute chub on her cheeks.

She hates her pacifier, tummy time, naps, and breastfeeding. She's just kind of a hater. She's now bottle-fed and because of her projectile vomiting, we're trying to find a formula that settles well with her. She loves her dad and will smile all day long listening to him talk to her.
As of 3 months, she is 10 lbs and sleeping longer stretches at night!
She's definitely got us wrapped around her finger and we think she's just the sweetest thing.


Birth


                                           1 Month                                                                               2 Months