Monday, December 19, 2011

NICU Adventures

This was going to be a very long post but I just don't have that much time with 2 very active babies at home.

Aria and Alex came 7 weeks early and because of elevation and prematurity they started out on CPAP but with 12 hrs required intubation to be able to breathe. I for some reason never freaked out about this and just thought it was ok and they would recover just fine. After 4 doses (the MAX) of surfactant they still were not responding and their lungs were still "sticky".
Aria 1 day old

Aria

Alexander 1 day old

Alexander

I have been pumping like crazy trying to build up my milk supply that I knew would be crucial to their well-being. After 5 days of IV nutrition, intubation, surfactant they finally got a bit of colostrum and what-ya-know within 24 hours they were breathing better and were weaned off intubation and moved down to Turbo (a form of CPAP). I had no idea at that point how hard this journey was going to be and just how emotionally draining it is.

They had been in the NICU for a week and I was only able to stay in the hospital for the 4 day max with my c-section. Thankfully Claudia got 3 months maternity leave (Bank of America has same-sex benefits THANK GOD) Addy would go to Nana's or stay home with Claudia and I would make the 45min drive to the NICU to deliver milk, do Cares(take temps, change diapers, give baths, do their oral care) and when I was really lucky I would get to cuddle. I didn't get to hold them till they were about 3 days old.
Claudia holding Aria for the first time!!!


Me holding Alex for the first time!!!



The pumping every 2-3 hrs was daunting and exhausting. Then trying to give Addy attention when I was at home was hard because I just wanted to sleep. I just thought 1 more day and I will survive this. I spent about 8 hrs a day at the hospital(not including the commute). Let's add in the fact that to provide enough milk for twins you have to eat and drink enough and get rest....That was so hard!!! The NICU provided a Nursing Mother's Room that had turkey sandwiches, milk and water all within the NICU wing(I was very grateful for this) I could walk down the hall pump and eat and go straight back to seeing my babies.


After a couple weeks I was finally able to start "trying to nurse" and bottle feed. They had been on tube feeding up to this point and had to slowly increase their feeds and be able to digest it. This is much harder then it sounds. They would pull their stomach contents before each feed and see if they were holding onto it or if it was looking no so great. This to awhile for their tummy's to tolerate but slowly they did and slowly they got more and more to the point they were able to pull out their PIC lines and either give all their nutrition through the tube or bottle.

There came a point in time where I completely broke down because I never thought they were going to come home. They weren't able to breastfeed well. The bottle was hit and miss and I was just plain exhausted. I kept seeing other 33 weekers come and go and mine were still there struggling to keep their oxygen stats stable and eat properly.


to be continued.......

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