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Archive for the ‘Emotions’ Category

Wow – I remembered my password and everything.  Hi.  I’m not even sure if people still read this or subscribe to it.  But, on this blizzard-y day I felt drawn to come back and jot down some things as I reflect on experiences of this time three years ago.

Three years.  It seems so far.  Yet, it also feels like yesterday we were keeping vigil at the NICU praying, wishing, hoping, that there would be a positive outcome from all of this.  For 100 and 142 days.

The third birthday was hard for me – harder than their second and I haven’t entirely figured out why.  Maybe, because of all the assessments they were put through while ending Early Intervention services and looking to see what further would be needed, I had to relive the gory details of my pregnancy, their birth, and their entire medical history?  Is it possibly because THREE is just so different than two?  That they’re little humans now with opinions (lots of them), words, feelings, and personalities?

Or, it seems, that each year has been a specific theme or category.  Year one was definitely “survival“.  It went by in such a blur, you could barely take a second to breathe, and at the end of it we felt like we had run a marathon.  It is awful to admit but the first year of memories is not very clear.  I think we lived on adrenaline and coffee.  I actually don’t know how we all came out of it alive.  But we did and I think we did a decent job of it.

Year two was “stability“.  We survived the first year, routines were getting set in place, it was getting easier in some ways but challenging in others.  But, for the most part, we finally felt like we knew what we were doing.  Other life challenges came up but the kids continued to steer the course and check the boxes of major milestones like crawling, walking, and first sounds.

Year three I’d classify as “change“.  Developmentally, the difference between them at their second birthday and them at their third birthday is mindblowing.  When they were diagnosed around two with speech delays, I was crushed.  Even though I knew there was a delay going on – I didn’t realize just how frustrating it was for the kids.  Their minds had so much they wanted to communicate and they couldn’t.  We got them into speech therapy and worked with them at home with signs, pictures, and the like.  Progress was made and both were discharged with 6-8 months of starting – and now, they’re consistently using phrases and their most recent assessments have them well within the average range (and a little above) for their age.  Colton literally went from having ZERO words on his second birthday to testing within average and above average for receptive and expressive language.  Amazing.  A good friend had told me when we got the speech delay diagnoses that I would be shocked at the difference between two and year when it comes to communication.  At that time I couldn’t see the forest through the trees, but she was SO right.  Once it clicked, it snowballed and their language exploded.  Miss Keltie also tested out of Early Intervention services in June – so she, essentially, was caught up to her peers by 2 1/2.  Colton remained in mostly for his low core tone and to continue to reinforce other gross motor and fine motor skills.  Their personalities evolved, too – Colton continue to grow his affinity for trains, trucks, and anything that moves.  Keltie is really into music and art.  Keltie had an accessory added, and then taken away.  She was diagnosed with strabismus in both eyes (eye turning in) just after her second birthday.  We tried glasses for a few months but it didn’t help and she ended up having double strabismus surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.  The surgery was an absolute success (and I was an absolute wreck about it) and as of now she doesn’t need glasses and her vision is good.  Other changes happened as well – I got a new job.  One that has me going to an office – so after 7 years of working from home and 9 years with the same company, I made the decision to try something different.  It was time and I needed a change of pace.  I was traveling a lot and the kids were reacting poorly to me being away.  So, in November I took a new role and we have been settling into a new routine of me working in an office outside of the home.  It was very bittersweet, though.  So many of my colleagues there supported us through this journey and never questioned my commitment to my work when dealing with the kids in the hospital and post NICU.  I will forever be grateful for the love and support I received and that is why I miss the people I worked with terribly.  However, the work/life balance with my new job is much better for me and I am truly happy with my decision to leave and I think the kids enjoy having more of me and my attention, too.

Speaking of the year of change, since Early Intervention services stop at 3, both kids were assessed for the developmental preschool in town.  It was three weeks of assessments (once a week).  Keltie was assessed for speech only and Colton was assessed for speech, Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT).  At the conclusion of the assessments, we met with the school and the therapists and got the news that both kids were accepted into the program!  Keltie was accepted as an “at risk” model peer.  Basically, she is caught up to her actual age and peers in all assessment areas.  But, due to her severe prematurity, she is at risk of falling behind.  This way, teachers and staff will keep a close watch on her and we can run any interventions that may be necessary before it would get to a point where an untrained eye would notice (i.e., us).  We think this will be amazing for her – especially when it comes to routine, playing with other kids, and transitions.  Keltie struggles a lot with transitions.  She was a model peer in the developmental playgroup through Early Intervention and often had to be pulled out.  Not much of a role model, Keltie…  I’m really hopeful for this program for her and think it can only do even more to support her continued development and growth.

Colton was also accepted.  He will receive therapies for all three areas – even though speech tested on par and above average, there are concerns about his volume and endurance.  They feel a lot is related to his low core tone, so they’ll work in sync with PT on how to boost his speech.  OT will continue to focus on maturing some of the emerging skills he has and PT is going to be the hardest work in also maturing some emerging skills and working to strengthen his core and increase his use of both sides of his body.  We are super excited – although it is difficult to hear that one of your children still isn’t completely caught up after three years.  But, we remind ourselves that it could have been worse.  So much worse.  If all they need are these boosts here and there – throw as much services at them as we can.

So next week, my once micropreemies who weighed less than 2lbs a piece will be saying goodbye to us.  They’ll be dropped off at preschool with their backpacks (personalized from LL Bean, of course) and a world of opportunity in front of them.  For 2.5 hours two days a week, they’ll be in the hands of others and not in our home – a new adventure to them and an anxiety ridden experience for us parents.  I am excited, though, to see what this experience will do for them and all they will learn.  I am so grateful for access to these services and know we are lucky to have this opportunity for Colton and Keltie.  I am the most grateful for two smart, beautiful, thriving “threenagers” – even with all of the sass, frustration, and toddler drama that comes along with it.  I think year four will have a lot to offer them – and our whole family. I’m excited!

2015 Twin Pics

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This time last year, I was getting washed up by a wonderful nurse named Pat.  She even gave me a back rub / massage and helped me feel less “stinky” since I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed, even to use the bathroom.  I had been in the hospital for 24 hours and my labor successfully stopped, with no sign of distress with the babies.  Pat made me laugh – very blunt and to the point.  Sarcastic – my kind of woman.  But let’s back up.

A year ago on January 20th, at around 10:00pm – my water broke.  Here is what I wrote from the hospital one year ago:

I was lying in bed watching the news and I thought I peed my pants.  I literally got out of bed laughing because I couldn’t believe I was doing that kind of stuff already.  I took my pants off and noticed it was more than just a dribble – and then I went into the bathroom and I was gushing fluid.  I knew right then and there that this wasn’t urine and that my water had broke.

I called down to Chris and told him we had to go to the hospital.  He came running upstairs and couldn’t believe his eyes.  I was hysterical but he grabbed me my phone so I could call the OB office and they told me to get to the hospital as soon as possible.  My husband was literally frozen with fear – he was walking in circles and trying to secure the house and the dogs and I just lost it, grabbed my keys, and got into my car with him chasing behind me.  I couldn’t wait one more second and just HAD to get to the hospital.  So, yes, I drove myself the 37 miles to South Shore Hospital all while on the phone with my mom, Grandy, and Julie.  I made it in 30 minutes.  My mom met me there and Chris soon followed.  When I pulled into the hospital, I saw what I thought was the valet guy and literally hopped out of my car and handed him my keys.  I didn’t care whether he was actually a valet or if I just gave my new car to some random guy in a red coat.  I walked as fast as I could with a towel between my legs and made it to the birthing center where my mom was waiting.  Note:  it was a valet and I still have my car.

They started me on monitors for both babies heartbeats and contractions and they did a test that confirmed it was, in fact, amniotic fluid.  I had suffered from preterm premature rupture of membrane (pPROM).  The OB came in and did an u/s which did little more than confirm both babies were still breech and she did a physical exam and found that my cervix was still closed.  I was apparently contracting, but didn’t feel them at all – I was 3-4 minutes apart when I came in!  I was immediately given a steroid shot (the first in a two shot series) and they started me on magnesium sulfate to stop the labor.  A neonatologist came in to talk with Chris and I and we were essentially told that at 25w4d gestation, the babies had a 50/50 chance of survival.  We were heartbroken.  But, the team of doctors (OBs, MFMs, etc…) were going to work as hard as possible to keep me pregnant for as long as they could.

I was then moved to a room in the birthing unit where I was monitored very closely.  I was given an u/s Friday morning that confirmed it was Baby Girl’s sac that had broken and it was a full rupture.  Her fluid level was considered “low”, but she wasn’t showing any signs of distress.  In addition to the magnesium, I was given two antibiotics to ward off infection and because I tested positive for group B strep earlier in my pregnancy.  That first night / morning  is a blur to me – I wasn’t allow to sit up at all, had to urinate in a bed pan, and was literally left to lie in bed and do nothing.  I was given three goals to try to make and they were:

– Goal #1:  second steroid shot (Saturday at 1:30am)

– Goal #2:  steroid series considered complete (Sunday at 1:30am)

– Goal #3:  26 weeks gestation (Monday)

I was moved to a new room in the birthing unit on Friday and I stayed there until Sunday morning.  Again, I was closely monitored and completed the magnesium and steroid series successfully where I stopped contractions and it looked like labor was held at bay for the time being. 

I literally can feel the emotions and envision the events of those days like it just happened.  My chest gets tight and I start to shake when I think about how I was feeling – how I didn’t know the ending to the story.  I didn’t know what the next chapter held, even.  I certainly didn’t know how long I’d hold out (4 days) or what it would be that would put me into full-blown labor (Keltie sticking her feet through my cervix and trying to “walk” her way out).  I only knew in the moment – I knew the sounds of their heartbeats.  I made the nurses keep the monitor sound up so I was constantly surrounded by those “galloping horses” – it helped me feel like everything was okay.  I knew the laughter that Pat and I shared as Keltie kept running away from the machine.  Pat spent that whole night chasing Keltie with the monitor while I tried to get some sleep.  I wouldn’t know, however, that Pat would be with me in the delivery room – the only familiar face in the wee hours of the morning of the 24th.  It would be Pat who “slapped” me back into reality when I woke up from my emergency c-section in horrendous pain because they didn’t have time to give me a spinal.  It would be Pat who said, ever so eloquently, “listen – you just had your body cut open almost hip to hip, your uterus pulled out, two babies yanked out of you, everything tossed back in, and sewn back shut.  No shit you’re in pain”!  It was precisely what needed to be said at that moment when I was on the verge of losing it.  I never got to thank her for leaving such an impression on me – for being a bright light in a difficult period, before things got really tough.  So Pat – if you ever read this, thank you.  I didn’t know how much you’d mean to me, even one year later.

On this past Sunday, the anniversary of being admitted to the hospital, I played with my beautiful twin babies.  I witnessed Keltie use the strength she’s clearly always had to bust out not once, but twice, to crawl down our hallway to say hi to her Daddy.  She’s crawling!  I witnessed her laugh, cry, and make sounds I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear.  I witnessed her twin brother, Colton, sit and smile ever so big while I sang “Row Row Row Your Boat” completely off-key.  He doesn’t care – he loves it.  I witnessed him laugh, yell with excitement, and play with their plethora of toys.  I hugged them – maybe a little extra hard.  I did this probably 23189123810 times on Sunday while tears rolled down my face.  I sat back and watched them interact with a huge smile on my face (and tears, of course, streaming) – they’re starting to do “typical” sibling stuff like pulling each others hair and fighting over the same toy.  I fed them, bathed them, and tucked them into bed with a kiss on their forehead.  I went to sleep with a full heart, a few tears, and a house filled with love. 

The ending that a year ago I didn’t know would be possible, is – I’m living it each day.  Call it by the grace of God, the advancement of modern technology, the caring hands and gentle souls that work in the NICU, the amount of love that hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people sent to them and to Chris and I – likely a combination of all these things – but it helped end our story with smiles, laughs, baby kisses, and lives filled with love and joy.  The night my water broke – I told Chris our babies were going to die.  I was so sure that was how our story would end.  I’ve never been so wrong in my life.  They are fighters, survivors, and the strongest little beings I’ve ever met.  They are our world – and they are living happily ever after.

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I think it kind of goes without saying that we have an incredible amount to be thankful for this year.  Although not the joyous time I had expected when I gave birth, the end result has defied most odds and we now share our home with two healthy, happy, special babies who have brought more laughs and warmth to our house than we ever could have expected.

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind day – but a great one.  We started by bringing the twins to Chris’s cousin’s house for their annual tradition of skeet shooting in the field.  We go mostly to socialize (and enjoy an adult beverage or two) and it was nice to have them out in the fresh air.  They weren’t even bothered by the noise of the gun!  After about an hour, we headed back home to get ready for the arrival of our immediate families who were all bringing pieces of what would become our wonderful Thanksgiving feast!  I asked to give the blessing and choked up doing so – I’ve been a bit of an emotional mess lately but all for good reason.  These babies truly astonish me with how big they are, how well they’re doing, and the love that grows in my heart for them every.single.day. 

Colton and Keltie loved all the attention they got throughout the day and enjoyed their first helpings of mashed potatoes and turkey, along with some squash.  Surprisingly, Keltie was more “hands on” with her food than Colton was – he had Grammie shoveling spoonfuls of potatoes and was happy with that thankyouverymuch.  After everyone left, we headed over to Chris’s other cousin’s house to have a quick visit with some family we didn’t see earlier in the day.  Many hadn’t met them yet and were so surprised to see how big they’ve become since we sent out their birth announcements at 6 weeks old! 

It was a wonderful day full of lots of gratitude.  I’m smiling now remembering our table full of food, family, and love.  It was so nice to look around at everyone and see our beautiful babies in their highchairs, joining in on the celebration.  I am so grateful Chris was home to experience it as well.  These first holidays are such precious events – Christmas is up next!

We have never been so thankful!

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Wow – this has been seriously neglected and I don’t even know where to start.  I will do a general update and then post separate updates on Colton and Keltie either tonight or tomorrow. 

Last Tuesday was Colton and Keltie’s half birthday! 

 

They are doing so well and it was so nice to have a birthday with them both home.  I still can’t believe it has been six months – it has felt like the longest and shortest six months of our lives.  Having them home has truly transformed our life – but in such a great way.  My tan is not nearly as dark as it usually is this time of year, I am using a lot of consealer to cover the dark circles, and I’ve only been to the beach once – but to play with them every day and see the smiles on their faces is something I cherish more than sleeping in on the weekends and toes in the sand.  We have enjoyed bringing them out and about to family and friends and having others enjoy meeting them and seeing their beautiful faces. 

The dogs have adjusted well to having two babies in the house.  Lucy is more motherly and will sit near them and will be around during feedings in their nursery.  Cooper couldn’t be bothered – in fact, I’ve put one of the babies near him a few times and he high tails it out of the room!  But, it’s better than being aggressive and so our family of six is doing just fine living under one roof!

We have managed to get a decent routine down with them – eat, play, sleep every three hours.  We do try and keep them awake for the few hours prior to their last feeding (which is around 10:00pm) so they will sleep better at night.  Keltie is the sleeper – she loves sleeping (and smiling!  Smiling is her favorite!) whereas her brother is hit or miss.  Sometimes the little chunka will get hungry and wake around 5:00am and other times he’ll sleep until 7:00 or 8:00am.  It’s amazing how much better you feel with just a little more sleep!  The first few weeks with Colton home was rough.  We were walking zombies.

We did manage to survive Chris’s shoulder / collarbone injury.  He was out of commission for quite some time, but was able to help with Keltie since she is lighter and less…work.  Colton is a bit more…work.  But we love him just the way he is!!  Okay, maybe we’d love him slightly more if he didn’t spit up all over everything all.the.time.  😉  Chris went back to work about two weeks ago and I returned around the same time as well.  That was hard for both of us – but it is what it is.  I can honestly say that work is a LOT easier than being a FT mom!  I give SAHMs a ton of credit for all they do!  I did have a hard time accepting that I didn’t get a “normal” maternity leave or a full 12 weeks to stay with the babies and bond with them at home.  Just another “loss” that I have had to work through internally.  I am forever grateful, though, that I was able to take what I did and enjoyed spending days taking walks along the Cape Cod Canal as a family, dipping them in the pool for the first, second, and third time, their first July 4th, and fun evenings playing at home.  We also had a lot of doctors appointments and those, thankfully, have slowed down. 

Overall, it’s been busy to say the least but we love it.  It’s chaotic, but rewarding.  My love for them grows every day – every second of every day.  To look at the progress they have made is astonishing to me – and to know Chris and I made these beautiful beings is simply amazing.  They are the strongest little people in the world – just to reflect on what they went through to get to where they are today bring tears to our eyes.  And we still treasure every milestone they have, both big and small.  I don’t think that will ever wear off.

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Well, it’s been a while since the last update and it’s been a bit insane to say the least. 

Last Monday was the usual dreaded eye exam.  And it ended up being one of the worst days since the twins were really sick and little.  Keltie’s ROP progressed to Stage 3 in one of her eyes and the doctor wanted her to have a second opinion up at Boston’s Children’s Hospital (BCH).  Colton’s spells had reached the point where they stopped feeding him by mouth and put his feeding tube back in because the spells were so bad and so frequent.  With that, he was also ordered to go to BCH for a swallow study (his eyes were still Stage 2).  So on Monday, we packed up both of their things and were discharged from South Shore Hospital (SSH) and both babies were taken by separate ambulances to Boston.  It was an emotional nightmare.  I am so grateful, though, that one of their primary nurses, Fran, who wasn’t even working in the NICU on Monday agreed to transport them for us.  Fran came in to check on them during a break in her inservice training and I burst into tears.  I begged her to be the transport nurse if they went on Tuesday and she got right up and said she was going to do it that day.  And she did.  And I owe her the small amount of sanity I had left – it meant so much to us that she went above and beyond.  She’s so special to us and our kids.

Tuesday, Keltie had her eye exam at BCH and their ophthalmology team agreed with the doctor that it was Stage 3, but she was “pre-plus disease” which means that she is not in need of surgery at this point.  They took some amazing pictures of her eyes and showed both Chris and I what ROP looked like, etc…  Colton had his swallow study that afternoon and it showed that he was aspirating on regular breast milk thickness and nectar thickness, but that he was safe for the most part on honey thick feeds.  So the plan was for me to return Wednesday morning and feed him on the thickened feeds (and you can’t safely thicken breast milk until they are 44 weeks old, so he is now on all formula feeds thickened with rice cereal) with the Feeding Team watching to determine how long he could handle the thickened feeds.  The concern was him burning too many calories trying to suck the thick feeds and tiring out, so they prepared us that he may only be able to take 10mLs of his feed (full feeds are 60-70mLs).  Little did they know my son…

Wednesday morning I arrived and did Colton’s feed.  He finished the entire thing in 20-25 minutes no problem.  That’s my boy!  So, they were comfortable saying he could do full feeds by mouth as long as he did it within 20-25 minutes.  Colton was happy about that!  Both babies were scheduled to have surgical consult at SSH before they left for their hernias, so they did this at BCH and with Keltie they were concerned about the “hardness” of her “hernia”.  So, they schedule an u/s on her hernia to get a better look at it.  Come to find out…her left ovary had made its way into her inguinal canal and that’s what they were feeling!  The surgery team came up to speak with me and explained that due to the nature of the organ being in the canal, they had to do surgery within 24-48 hours.  I was petrified.  They were able to push the ovary back up (with Keltie screaming – the poor thing!) so they were okay waiting until Thursday to do the surgery.  That started a flurry of activity and me meeting with the anesthesiologist, surgeon team, etc….  I couldn’t believe my little 5lb miracle was going to have to be put under for surgery and I was so afraid that it was going to impact her progress with her breathing and being off of any breathing support.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night. 

Thursday morning we found out that Colton was being transferred back to SSH.  So, Chris went up to Boston to be with Keltie for her surgery and I met Colton at SSH to get him settled back in before I headed up to Boston myself.  Colton was welcomed back as the Mayor of the SSH NICU / Special Care Nursery and I felt comfortable knowing he was with people that knew him so well and loved him so much.  I got to Boston just in time for Keltie to come back to her room for recovery.  She had an IV in her head – but thankfully Chris prepared me to see that before she was wheeled in.  The surgery team fell in love with her and wanted to keep her 🙂  She did really well and ended up with a bilateral hernia repair – so two incisions about an inch or so in length.  The surgeon said he did it “on her bikini line” and I literally replied with “what do I give a shit about my 3 month old daughter’s bikini line!”  But, apparently there are some other parents who get concerned about that stuff – hey, to me, they are her little battle scars for being such a brave, strong girl!  She came up from surgery and wasn’t intubated, which I was SO grateful of.  She did need some low-flow nasal cannula support for about an hour but by Friday morning she was just like she was before surgery and doing all her breathing on her own.

Friday morning we found out that Keltie was ready to be transferred back to SSH and I headed up to Boston to pack her things and wait for her ambulance chariot to get there.  It was so nice to have them back together and back to their “home” hospital where people know and love them so much.  Fran was working the weekend and had them and it filled my heart to not have to be worried about them being further away in a place they didn’t know with people who didn’t know them like the team at SSH does. 

Since being back at SSH, they have both been doing well.  Colton is a moose and weighs 6lbs, 8oz and Keltie is holding at around 5lbs, 2oz.  They are preparing Keltie for discharge and it may even be this week!  Colton is still struggling a bit with some spells – but not nearly as much as he was prior to going on the thickened feeds.  His reflux is just brutal on him.  But, on Saturday he was put on room air with no breathing support and he’s been doing awesome ever since!

We’re getting close…there may actually be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Of course it wouldn’t come without some dramatics prior to, but should we expect anything less?

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…and it has done wonders for lack of time and sleep!  On Tuesday I returned to my full-time job and it was bittersweet.  Monday was a hard day for me as it was the last day where all my time and attention could be devoted to the twins and the NICU.  Driving home that night, I sort of lost it.  Okay, I lost it big time.  It was more anger than saddness and I’m sure that returning to work was just a trigger – but it really comes down to one thing:  I’m over it.  I’m over this whole NICU thing, I’m over having to drive to see my precious babies, I’m over the whole experience.  I just want them home.  But of course the reality is – they are where they need to be and I have to swallow that fact and move forward.  So, that’s what I did. 

I did receive the warmest of welcomes back from my colleagues and peers and that helped make it better.  I do have to chuckle that my loving boss said that we’d ease me back into things.  That lasted about a day (and to no fault of hers – there’s just a lot to do!) and, in fact, I’ve been bringing along my laptop to the NICU and working on stuff in between cuddles with the kiddos.  But, truly, it has brought some normal back into my life and has also allowed me to experience different things at the NICU that happen in the evening hours such as weighing them. 

Both peanuts are doing well.  The doctors have been working to wean them on their flow of their cannulas and they’ve gone back and forth on that – down to 2L and back up to 3L and right now they’re hanging out at 2.5L and tolerating it well.  Colton’s oxygen has been primarily between room air (21%) and 25% and Keltie’s oxygen has been between 25% and 30%.  They’re going to try and wean them down to 2L on Monday and see how they tolerate it.  The goal is to get them to tolerate 2L and below so we can start trying to feed them by mouth!  I so look forward to that, but also recognize that brings a whole new set of obstacles and bumps in the road.  In order to help them, they started them each on diuretics to get rid of some of the adema (swelling) they have going on.  It’s not the most commonly known one, Lasix, but is a gentler one that doesn’t pose the same risks that Lasix does (the name is escaping me). 

Their growing has been wonderful!  As of last night, Colton weighed 3lbs, 11oz and Keltie weighed 3lbs, 7oz!!!  My big, strong peanuts!!!  They are off the Prolacta and are on what they call Hi-HMF to help boost the calories.  Due to the extreme cost of the Prolacta, once they reached a certain point they make the switch since the risks are very low now that Prolacta helped prevent. 

Keltie’s blood pressure has been captured and they actually expanded her dosing schedule from every 8 hours to every 12 hours, which is a sign that whatever is causing it is starting to break down.  It’s a relief to not see those high BPs on the monitors anymore.  We did have a slight scare with her earlier this week – there was blood in her urine once and so they did another renal u/s and everything looked clear.  They did a urinalysis and that didn’t show one drop of red blood cells.  So bizarre.  The doctor thinks it was a fluke or something – there’s nothing really there to say what it was but we know what it wasn’t.

Onto some not so good news – their second eye exam was on Monday and they do have Stage 2 ROP in Zone 2 of their eyes.  I don’t know if both Chris and I misunderstood or what, but when we assumed they were free and clear of it two weeks ago…we assumed wrong.  The “good” news is that this isn’t uncommon and they’ll have another exam in two weeks to check the progress.  Apparently it is not unlikely to get worse before it gets better, but 90% of the time it resolves on its own.  If not, they will need laser surgery to correct it.  Ugh – thoughts and prayers that everything resolves well on its own with no lasting effects on their vision. 

Other than that, we’ve been soaking up their absolute adorableness (is that even a word?) and loving every minute of it.  We’re starting to see them more and more awake and that’s really awesome, too.  Here’s an absolutely adorable video of Colton looking around:

Colton at 8 weeks!

Keltie at 8 weeks!

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Monday was a huge day for the peanuts – they had their eye exam, Keltie had her kidney u/s, and Candace was coming for their photoshoot!  Good news there all around – their eye exam showed no ROP and “normal” premature retinas.  The doctor will return in two weeks and likely continue every two weeks until they’re released.  This was a huge milestone – I didn’t sleep much Sunday night because I was so nervous about it.  It doesn’t mean that ROP won’t show up, but it’s not likely if it wasn’t seen on Monday’s exam.  Keltie’s kidney u/s was clear as well – no major clots or issues.  Unfortunately, her BP continued to rise throughout the day and right before I left it was something crazy like 120/80, so the doctor made a plan to have a cardiology consult on Tuesday for her. 

Candace arrived and spent almost four hours with us at the NICU.  She was amazing – and so patient.  It was hard as I really wished that I could have had maternity pictures since the likelihood of me being pregnant again is…well, ZERO.  But, we decided to make lemonade from the lemons we were handed and these pictures will be so precious and important to us in the long run.  Well, last night she posted a preview of six pictures and I immediately burst into tears.  They’re amazing.  Gorgeous.  A true capture of the beauty of my children and the love I have for them.  I can’t even imagine with the rest will look like (I’ll have those in about a week or so).  I believe if you click this link, you should be able to see them.  Let me know what you think!  And anyone in the MD  / VA / DC area who is looking for a wonderful photographer, please consider Candace!

Tuesday Keltie’s BP continued to be very high – the cardiology consult basically agreed with what the neonatologist thought and that’s where Keltie likely has a small clot or clots not able to be seen on the u/s and this was likely caused by the arterial lines that were in her belly button which were removed a while back.  Their little bodies take a long time to break down these clots, so the cardiologist and neonatologist decided the best course of action would be to treat her high BP and allow the body to break down the clots.  The tricky part is getting the dosing right on the medicine – enough to lower her blood pressure and sustain the ideal blood pressure range but not too much that causes her to plummet (which is actually worse than it being high).  They’re still working through this – today it was lower about an hour after her dose of meds, but then it came right back up high a few hours later.  *sigh*  Luckily, this is something they can manage for her and they’ll eventually find what will do the trick. 

Keltie’s also behind in her weight gain – especially when compared to Colton who is now being called a “porkchop” by one of the neonatologists. 🙂  So, the nutritionist provided instructions for me to do this special pumping process for the next 1-2 weeks to get and separate out the hindmilk for Keltie.  So, I started that on Tuesday and she gained 30 grams from it just in one day!  As much as it’s a bit of a pain in the butt to do (you pump for 4 minutes, put that in a bottle and mark it F for “foremilk” and then continue pumping and put that in a bottle and mark it H for “hindmilk” and only bring in the H bottles to the NICU) and it kind of affected my supply for a bit (I think the stopping to pour the foremilk made my supply “confused” if that’s even possible…I could just be making this up, too), it’s totally worth it if it’s going to help her put on the necessary weight.

Speaking of weight…I had my 6 week postpartum visit today and all is good in the Krista hood.  I currently weigh only 4lbs more than I did on my wedding day.  I was shocked.  I never knew a good weight loss plan was to get pregnant with twins!!!  I am happy to finally be able to go to the gym again, though, and take advantage of the head start.  My body is absolutely different than it was before – I have fat in places I never did before and I’m skinnier in other areas.  So bizarre.  Of course I had to fill out some survey and they score it to see if I’m suffering from postpartum depression.  For any SHC people who read this – it reminded me of the PSE!  It had questions like “do you feel stressed?”, “are you having trouble sleeping?”, “are you sad?” – me being…well, me, answered it truthfully and so my “punishment” for that was to have a 30 minute conversation with my OB about how that stupid survey shouldn’t be given to moms with kid(s) in the NICU!  My answers were purely situational and I’m not suffering from postpartum…I’m suffering from stress and concern over my 26 week premature twins!  She agreed and was happy to know I see a therapist (I think everyone should!) and we finally were able to move on.  I got my return to work note and I’ll be back on March 20th – I’m looking forward to getting some “normal” back in my life but I’m a bit nervous as to how I’m going to manage it all.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out – I just wish I could work from the NICU…

Other than that, Chris and I have been alternating who we hold each day and getting in some serious cuddle time.  We both agree that we fall in love with them more and more each day.  It’s crazy – and it’s awesome.

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