Saturday, June 29, 2013

4 weeks old

Can't believe how fast the first four weeks went. 

The girls had another doctor's appointment on Friday and were gaining weight really well. Brooklyn weighs 5 lbs 10 oz (gained about 26 grams a day) and Bailey weighs 5 lbs 8 oz (gained 22 grams a day). We got the okay to space out night feedings to every four hours (midnight, four am, eight am and noon) instead of midnight, 3 am, 6 am, 9 am and noon. We can also stop giving them the extra15 ml of bottled breast milk after each feeding. Will make my life so much easier! And more sleep, hooray! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Baby photo comparison!

Looks like we both have little doubles! Darren's baby photo compared to Bailey (top), mine compared to Brooklyn (bottom). 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

3 weeks old today!

The girls are three weeks old today! How weird to think that I would be 37 weeks pregnant today and instead I have two three week old perfect babies.

We had a second weight check with the pediatrician on Friday. Although they are gaining weight (Bailey was 5 lbs 4 oz, Brooklyn was 5 lbs 2 oz) the doctor would like to see them gaining a little bit more. So we are really focusing this week on making sure they eat and eat.

The doctor did give us the go ahead to start dressing them in normal clothes instead of keeping them in double layers with the sleepers. So let the cute outfits and instagram picture taking begin.

They are gradually becoming more vocal and being more alert each day. My mom and mother in law have been coming over during the day (took turns the past ten days) but I'll be on my own this coming week. Should be interesting!

Placed both girls on their backs and they both positioned themselves like this. What  are they twins or something?

Friday, June 21, 2013

The nursery

Here it is!

We went with a Dr. Seuss theme (I love Dr. Seuss. I wrote my senior history thesis on him - very interesting individual. A lot of his books are political allegories against Hitler, the arms race, imperialism, materialism, etc. He also totally revolutionized the way young children learn to read by making fun, colorful and silly characters and using rhymes to tell his stories. But I digress.) Trend Lab makes a variety of Dr. Seuss items (note the pink polka dot look). We didn't want to overwhelm the room with pink so we chose a blue/green color for the walls (waterscape from Sherwin Williams.) Darren did all the prep work and my Aunt Peggy did the actual painting of the walls. The cribs were a gift from my Syracuse girlfriends, the window valances were from my sister-in-law, the hamper from my brother's girlfriend, the mattresses from my friend Amanda and my mother-in-law/father-in-law. I picked up the wall decals from Amazon, the stuffed animals from Kohls and the mobiles, shelves and crib guards from Target. The dressers were a set that my great grandmother used - they just needed a little TLC. Darren and his dad used a spray painter to give them a face lift, and then Kevin painted the pink trim. We are really luck that the room is so huge. It really was made for two kids anyway, so having twins worked out in this case! We can easily fit a queen bed, two cribs, two dressers, a book shelf and a toy organizer with extra space to spare. I may move the rocking chair up there at some point too.
Twin Nursery

Dr. Seuss Nursery

Dr. Seuss Nursery

Dr. Seuss Nursery

Dr. Seuss Nursery

Twin Nursery

Dr. Seuss Nursery

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Over a week at home!

The girls came home last Tuesday!

It's been a bit crazy so far as we adjust to having two newborns at home. They are really good babies but it is super busy taking care of two little ones! They are on a three hour feeding schedule which means they eat at 3, 6, 9 and 12 am and pm. Each feeding/changing takes about an hour and a half or so, leaving about an hour and a half in between each feeding for us to live our lives, sleep, eat, take a walk, etc. I've been able to breastfeed most feedings (we do two formula bottles a day per the NICU doctor's instructions). Darren takes the midnight feeding so I am able to sleep from about 10:30 until 3 am.

The feedings will probably get faster as we become more efficient. Here's how each feeding goes. First I change Brooklyn (she always goes first). I breastfeed each baby one at a time (whoever suggested its possible to feed both at the same time is crazy! It's hard enough to feed one at a time!). Then I give each girl 15 ml extra of pumped breast milk to try and fatten them up (preemies need extra calories any chance you can get). I burp them. I put Brooklyn back down and do the same routine with Bailey. Then I pump for a few extra minutes so I can use the milk to supplement the 15 ml for each girl and build my milk supply (again, TMI for public blog post?). Then I look at the clock and think, okay, I'll start this all over again in a hour and a half. When I have help (my mom and mother in law have been stopping by, and obviously Darren helps when he isn't working), it seems to go a little faster, but still takes a good hour and 15 minutes usually.

The hardest part about having two is when you are feeding/changing/holding one and the other baby cries. They are pretty mellow babies for the most part - usually when they cry its b/c their pacifier falls out or they are hungry. I swear Brooklyn can tell when Bailey is crying waiting to be fed because she takes an extra long time breastfeeding. I've figured out that if I set Bailey next to the recliner in a bouncer, I can at least put her pacifier back in and comfort her a little while feeding Brooklyn.

We've been taking walks around the neighborhood every day and we've made it out of the house twice (doctor's appointment and newborn photo session.) The feeding schedule is really easy to manage until you throw in obstacles like a doctor's appointment. But I am learning how to adjust and pack a really effective diaper bag so that we can leave the house and still get both girls fed and changed. I think our first major outing will be Fourth of July parties.

It's funny how each girl has a different personality already. Brooklyn is our wild girl. She makes these crazy grunting noises all the time that sound like a cross between laughter and the velocipator noises from Jurassic Park. She also gets into ravenous feeding frenzy mode where she will just shake her head back and forth with her mouth searching for a nipple. And she will latch onto anything she can find (she is always trying to feed on the head rest of the swing).  Bailey is the crier. She is also the calmer baby at the same time. When she is content, she sleeps like a little angel while the grunts of her sister can be heard constantly. But when she is unhappy, she will let out loud screams. She also loves to be held. Sometimes when she is crying, she just wants someone to hold her (and keep putting her pacifier back in). She has a harder time in the middle of the night - she tends to not want to go back to sleep between the three am and six am feeding.

I've been putting both girls into their swings during the day and they really like those. I would suggest to any twin mom that two swings are a MUST have.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Making strides, coming home soon!

A lot of progress in 24 hours. Feeding tubes came out and the girls both got moved out of the incubators and info open air "cribs" (they are more like plastic bins than cribs). Doctor says they will come home this week, maybe tomorrow but probably Wednesday or Thursday.

Also, they let me spend the night here in an extra room. Three hour feedings that take over an hour and rough. But making it work! I just found out I won't be able to spend the night again b/c they need the room for sick children. Totally understandable but breaks my heart :(

Sunday, June 9, 2013

8 days in the NICU and counting...

Bailey left, Brooklyn right.
Obviously I have not had much time to post updates on this blog. Here's a quick summary of the first eight days of the girl's lives.

I delivered on Friday June 1 at exactly 34 weeks. Girls were immediately taken to the NICU. They both had CPAP masks on to help with breathing, IVs for fluids, feeding tubes and a variety of sensors for breathing/heart rate checks. They were in incubators and we were allowed to touch them but not hold them that first night. Talk about torture. On Saturday, they took both girls masks off briefly and I was able to hold Brooklyn. Both girls had some issues with breathing so the masks went back on. Brooklyn's came back off by Sunday and I was able to try skin to skin kangaroo holding and she even breast fed a little which was totally cool.  (I had only been pumping until that point.) I did not hold Bailey until Monday when she got her mask off again which was really hard. Of course when I finally did I was sobbing, ha. Darren didn't even get to hold her until later that night or maybe the next day. I can't remember now as the days are beginning to run together.

Right from the get go, the nurses start helping you learn to care for your preemie babies. Our girls are on a feeding schedule of 6,9, 12 and 3 (am/pm) so we try to be there for as many feedings as possible. We always change their diapers (which is interesting through the incubator with all the wires), check temps and then do a combination of me breast feeding one or both and Darren giving one or both their required formula. I am pumping as much as I can, but the girls have to have a set amount of food each feeding to gain weight and we have to supplement formula. TMI for a blog post? All I've talked about our babies, breast feeding, etc the past week plus.

We were lucky to be moved out of the "scary NICU" and into the continuing care room on the same floor as the postpartum patients (mommies who have already delivered.) That meant the girls were down the hall instead of me having to take an elevator down one floor. And when you are recovering from a c-section, getting around is pretty hard. Anyway, the continuing care room is for more stable babies. it's much quieter and has more privacy and space. We were in that room for a few days and then got moved to a room in pediatrics that is basically the girls own suite. Very private and nice in there. It even has a TV. And they bring me a tray for every meal in there since I am breastfeeding mom.

The nurses at Fairview have been wonderful. We are learning so much about caring for our little ones and we've been so lucky that the girls have done great. Every report is positive and they always say how close they are coming to going home. I can even call in the middle of the night (which I do) to check on them whenever I want.

It is extremely emotional and hard to see your babies stuck in the hospital. On the day of my discharge (I stayed till Wednesday b/c of the c-section), I sobbed all day long. I've heard from other NICU moms that this is always the roughest day. The thought of leaving the hospital without your babies in tow is just miserable. And its so scary to think they will be in the hospital and you will not. You feel like you are abandoning them.

I constantly ask the doctors and nurses when they will come home. Most nurses say "oh they will be home by their due date" because I'm sure that's what they've been told to answer. But when I really press, I keep hearing sometime next week. Yesterday they even said maybe Monday or Tuesday. I literally cried I was so happy.

One thing I did not expect was how hard the recovery from a c-section is. First of all, they pump you with so many fluids and various meds that make you retain water. I blew up like a balloon for the first five or so days after. Literally my weight were swollen like Fred Flintstone and I had fat face, fat arms, well fat everything. Thankfully the swelling has gone down. You are also in a tremendous amount of pain. It's major surgery remember. And if you are lucky like me, you will have an allergic reaction to your pain meds and break out in hives all over your body. But yes, the c-section recovery was awful. If you can avoid it, don't every have one.

For now, our lives revolve around going back and forth to the hospital. Pump every three hours and breast feed when I can. I am trying to get at least four or five hours of sleep each night between all the pumping. Doing my best to prepare for the girls coming home, which hopefully will be soon!

34 week twin delivery~!

Brooklyn on right, Bailey on left.
The twins have arrived! Meet Bailey Anne Barr (Baby A) and Brooklyn Marie Barr (Baby B). Bailey = 5 lbs 5 oz and 18.9 in, Brooklyn = 4 lbs 14 oz and 17.3 in.

It all started around Wednesday/Thursday when I noticed my contractions were becoming stronger and more frequent. Drinking water/laying down wasn't helping. By the time Friday rolled around, I was timing them and they were coming about every ten minutes. I wasn't sure if I should bothering calling my doctor. Technically they say wait until they come every five minutes but that's for full time labor. If you are under 36 weeks, if you have more than four contractions an hour they say to call. But I really didn't want to go to the hospital again for no reason, and obviously the doctor already knows I've been having contractions. Anyway, when I talked to the on call doctor, she said go to the hospital. So around 10 pm Friday, that's where we headed.

Another visit to the high risk OB side of Fairview Hospital. They monitor me for a while, contractions are coming every eight to ten minutes. I'm dilated to 3.5 cm, a little more than I had been. They decided to keep me overnight and have the doctor check me in the morning, but more than likely I would be going home they said. Contractions continued throughout the night and morning, getting a little more intense. By the morning, they were coming every six to eight minutes. They kept asking me to rate the pain. I am so bad at this. Did it hurt? Yes. But not like the worst pain in the world. And I always feel like it could get so much worse. So I usually go with "maybe a five." We hung out at the hospital all day waiting for the on call doctor to check me. We are getting pretty bored, thinking about what we should get for dinner (which we decided would be KFC). Contractions continue to get worse. I give some of them "maybe a six or 5.5." At 3 pm the doctor finally comes in to check me. And I'm six cm dilated. This is when she drops the bombshell that the babies are coming today. Darren and I are both so stunned - was not expecting that! The doctor strongly suggested having a c-section since B (or Brooklyn as we like to call her now) was breached and they were still fairly premature at six weeks early. She had to do a quick surgery at a nearby hospital, but she would be back in an hour or so to do my c-section and we'd need to get a spinal By the time she got back, another woman needed an emergency c-section so we were waiting for that. I was starting to feel not great - very dizzy, hot and like I might throw up. Contractions getting much stronger, though not unbearable. I still have not had any pain meds at this point. Doctor finally gets back and I'm already 8 cm. At this point they moved very quickly.

They wheeled me into the operating room which was just chaos. There are so many people present for a c-section anyway, but with twins each baby has their own team so it was super crowded. When they do the spinal, the husband has to leave the room so it was pretty scary without Darren in there. Spinal hurt just a little as they pushed the meds in. Then I moved and laid down on the table and everything started feeling numb. They put up the sheet so I couldn't see anything and Darren came back into the room. The nurse next to me was sort of giving a play by play. When they cut into me, there was no pain obviously but it was a weird feeling. You could feel pressure sort of. And of course I knew in my head they were slicing open my body and pulling out babies. Within just a couple minutes they pulled out baby A (Bailey), followed very shortly by baby B (Brooklyn). I could hear them crying but couldn't see anything. Darren was able to get up and see them taking the babies out and cleaning them up, getting them ready for the incubators. Someone brought one baby over to me to see really fast and then quickly took her away. I got only quick glimpses of our girls as they wheeled them past us in their incubators. It was pretty emotional. You always read in all your baby books about the skin to skin contact you'll have immediately after delivery with your baby for bonding time. Obviously this was not the case here b/c of the premature issue. It took them maybe 25 minutes or so to finish sewing me up.

They then took me into a recovery room. I had been given some pain killers during the spinal so I was a little out of it. Nothing too eventful happened; I just kept asking to see my kids. At 10:30, they asked if I had regained enough feeling in my legs to get into a wheel chair. They were going to take me to the NICU to see my daughters. My legs barely had any feeling in them but I said of course I could feel them enough to get into the wheel chair, ha. I practically fell on the floor but the nurse and Darren got me into the chair. Seeing them for the first time (other than the quick glimpses I had in the operating room) was amazing. They were so small and in incubators with a variety of machines hooked up to the them. They were also wearing CPAP masks to help with breathing so I couldn't really see their little faces. It was emotional and hard to see your tiny daughters in such a state, but also amazing because you are seeing your babies that have been living inside of you for the past 34 weeks.

I wasn't allowed to hold them at this point which was gut wrenching but they said they were thinking a couple weeks or so until they could go home so I tried to focus on that. They wheeled me back upstairs and thus began our NICU stay.