Sunday, March 28, 2010

Post-Preggers Health Fun

After all I'd heard about complications with C-sections, I was very very grateful this part of the delivery went as smoothly as it did. Since the babies were on the small side the incision was smaller, too, and all in all the delivery was very easy. That said...

The twins were delivered on a Monday, I checked out on a Friday night, but then we were back at the hospital 12 hours later. I was suffering from severe constipation, which sounds funny but was seriously the worst pain I've ever experienced. Since I didn't have any contractions after my water broke on the day of the twins' birth, it was like the constipation was my way of experiencing childbirth pain... except at the end I gave birth to a multitude of little brown babies.

My septuplets

I'm sure everyone wants to know how constipation is treated in the ER and the answer is the physician first removes impacted poo with her fingers, and if that doesn't work, administers an enema. Both are no fun. (In other news, I can't BELIEVE people pay to receive enemas.)

My doctor?

Then three days later I was back in the ER, this time because of high blood pressure. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (which can cause very high blood pressure) after having given birth, so I probably came down with it in the last week of my pregnancy. (For those of you keeping score at home, this pregnancy had 4 pre term labor scares - 2 of which landed me in the hospital for over a week, 2 months of bed rest, gestational diabetes, severe constipation, and finally pre-eclampsia. Such are the joys of a multiple pregnancy, especially when you're "older".) In case you watch 19 Kids and Counting (don't get me started on how having 19 kids is child abuse), the Duggars' 19th child weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces when she was delivered in her 26th week (which is when I had my first pre-term labor scare), because the mother was diagnosed with pre-clampsia. There is a risk of seizure to continue with a pregnancy so the babies are often delivered early. I also found out that I have a 30% chance of pre-eclampsia if I'm pregnant with a singleton in the future.

Here I am with my parents while wearing my dad's hat. My feet and legs were super swollen because of high blood pressure related to pre-eclampsia. Those flip flops are the only shoes that would fit.

Check out my scary cankles on my last day in the hospital.

I ended up in the ER after I saw my perinatologist (Asian female Doogie) and she sent me to the ER to have my blood pressure monitored. There's nothing more reassuring than lying on a gurney while being checked into the ER, and hearing two nurses discuss how I need to be given a room right away because I am a seizure risk. I was also told that having blood pressure rise above 150 puts you at a high risk of stroke. (This made me worry that a stroke was imminent though I think they just meant "higher risk of stroke.") Nothing can play with your mind more than being hooked up to blood pressure machines and trying to relax to keep the numbers down while told you're at risk of grand mal seizure and stroke.

Scary puffy feet close-up! It was worse than last time when my cankle doppleganger was Miss Piggy!

I had to monitor my blood pressure at home for several weeks with a blood pressure gauge. A few times when my numbers were too high, I had to call the perinatology center and they instructed me to lie down for an hour in a dark room with no outside stimulation - not even TV (the horror!) - to bring down my blood pressure. I was really sad for a few days because I finally was off bed rest only to be told not to move unless absolutely necessary. I wanted to finally spend time with my new babies, and be able to do simple things like walk around the house and set up their nursery. Thankfully my numbers were back to normal about a week after my ER visit.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Starring James & Julia

(Generally I'm trying to write these posts in chronological order but the twins are 3 1/2 months old now and I'm still writing in the blog about what happened the week they were born. So I'm going to jump ahead for just a moment, and then go back to pretending it's December.)

Grandma bought St. Patrick's Day outfits for the twins. (Unfortunately with twins it's hard to get them both in a good mood/awake at the right time of day to take pictures, so this photo shoot actually took place on March 19th.) Poor James. He smiles so perfectly but his sister still steals the show.

James is ready for St. Patrick's Day

Kiss me I'm Irish (and Jewish, and Polish, and Lithuanian, and German, and English, and French, and Welsh, and Scottish, and American Indian...)

James is double the size of Julia...

Or is he? The left side of the bed has some sort of magical baby growing powers.

Julia and her pretty mouth

A face only Julia could make

Julia likes wearing socks that look like shoes!

Julia does her best "Fightin' Irish" pose

And there she goes...

James is going to enjoy the retaliation

James catching flies

Best. Expression. Ever.

That's all folks

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Hospital Stay

After the twins were born Mark and I got our own little room. The twins joined us and hung out in lucite bassinets while nurses tended to them for the first hour. James only got to stay for a very short time before being sent to the NICU for his grunting problem. Julia stayed with us and we learned to feed her 1 cc of formula at a time by syringe (in increments of 0.1 cc). She was very tiny!

Feeding tiny Julia by syringe

I called my parents ("Hi, Grandma!") and Mark called his to let them know the good news. My parents had hoped to arrive that night but they were driving from San Diego through the worst storm of the year so they didn't get there until the next day, and then I had to shoo them out when they arrived because I was working with a lactation consultant. Their faces lit up when they saw and held Julia. Then we went on a field trip to the NICU to see James. Because I couldn't move for 24 hours after the C-section I had only just seen James that morning for the first time since giving birth. (Mark had been able to visit earlier.) It had been my first time seeing James without his little white knit cap and I was struck by how blond his hair was! What a cutie!

Heartbreaker James in the NICU

When we announced the births the first day, I explicitly did not tell my parents the babies' names because I am a mean, mean daughter. After my parents arrived and they met each baby I introduced them. "Meet Julia." "Meet James." The NICU only allows two guests inside at a time per baby so James met his grandma and grandpa one at a time.

Grandma meets Julia

Grandpa meets Julia

Grandpa meets James in the NICU

The night the twins were born the hospital sent over a congratulatory bottle of sparkling apple juice with two plastic flutes. Unfortunately, I was suffering from bad nausea from the anesthesia so we couldn't have that until later (for the twins' one month birthday it turns out). Because I'd had gestational diabetes (which usually ends as soon as the placenta is removed) I had been looking forward to eating chocolate cake for months and hoped to that night. Instead I had a not very filling IV.

Mark and his little girl

Me and my little girl

The hospital stay was kind of a blur since I was really drowsy the whole stay from a combination of C-section meds, constantly being woken up to take drugs, and forcing myself to pump every 3 hours - even in the middle of the night. I didn't even have time to go online for over a week! I still have 464 unread e-mail messages from that week. (I also didn't have time to shower until my last day there, four days later.) Mark slept in the fold-out bed/chair in my room the first two nights. My parents visited each day, and my mom and Mark made our apartment into a nursery since I had been unable to having been on bed rest. And most importantly Mark and I learned how to care for tiny babies. Neither of us had really spent any time around babies before so there was a lot to learn - diapering, swaddling, and burping. We didn't even know to keep burping until there was a burp so a few times one of the babies would spit up and start coughing, and we'd be worried they were choking. They seemed so fragile and we were so inexperienced.

Me and my 4 pound, 9 ouncer, Julia

Mark feeds our amazing glow-in-the-dark baby. (James required a biliblanket one day to treat his jaundice.)

How is it we look both tall and short in the same photo?

The twins' birthdate was a Monday and I checked out on Friday night. We got to try out the new car seats on the ride home. They looked like their heads were way too tiny for the head support. (Note: this is no longer a problem with James' giganto cranium but more on that in another post.)

Julia, dressed for her trip home, in her wizard robe.

Checking out of the hospital. (Would you believe Mark forgot to bring me a change of clothing so I left in the same exact outfit I was wearing when my water broke?)

Julia in her car seat for the ride home

James (on the left) and his giant head and multiple chins no longer have problems filling the headrest of his car seat.