The First Year

The past few days, I’ve been flooded with feelings… how do I describe it?  It’s excitement, but also a bit of shock or it might even be denial?!  You see my twins will be O-N-E in about a month.  Many of you have been there-(I loved Laura C’s post a few months ago about Birthday Emotions… I’m beginning to relate!) I can’t pinpoint the exact reason it’s so emotional for me- maybe because we have all survived a YEAR of craziness or because my precious tiny miracle babies are growing up!  It really hit me this last weekend when we went to the NICU reunion.  OH how I loved showing off my big, healthy baby girls, but it brought back a flood of emotions too. 

After a long road with infertility and IVF, we were elated to be pregnant and with TWINS- we had no idea what was in store for us!  :)  I had a normal pregnancy and never would have guessed I would have had them so early.  On September 4, 2008, I went to my scheduled perinatologist appointment.  The doctor told me/showed me that Twin B (Riley)’s blood flow was not sufficient through the umbilical cord for some reason.  She was suddenly significantly smaller than Twin A (Reese) which had never been the case before, so the dr wanted the girls and me hooked to heart monitors… to be monitored.  The nurse brought me to another room, hooked me up and just left me there.  Everything was kind of in slow motion, but I just kept thinking it would all be okay.  All I could really think about was that I hadn’t eaten and was STARVING.  While watching the print out of my babies’ heartbeats and dreaming about Chick-Fil-A, I noticed the bottom line (Riley) dropping really low.  Not good.   I suddenly realized the extent on this little “problem” when my OB walked in.  When your perinatologist calls your OB from a different office building completely, you KNOW something’s up.  Dr. H was so sweet, cool, and calm as she explained to me that it would be better for the girls if they came into the world for care due to Riley’s dipping heart rate.  And since I was only 30 weeks, we needed to deliver at a hospital with a Level 3 NICU, which meant she could not do the Emergency C-Section and I could not deliver at my hospital.  WHAT?!  Not a moment you want to experience and especially not alone! My hubby came to pick me up and bring me to the hospital.  We were so scared.

 

We got checked in (after asking directions to this unknown hospital) and I was given a steroid shot for my twins’ lung development.  We learned that with every contraction I was having (I think they were just Braxton Hicks??), Riley would get MAD and her heart rate would drop.  They gave me a shot to stop the contractions, but no such luck.  Within two hours and only 1 steroid shot in my system , Dr. Owens, whom I met minutes before, said it was time to get the girls out… at 30 weeks and 1 day.  Due to my Harrington Rods (surgery to correct scoliosis in 1995), the anesthesiologist attempted an epidural SIX places, but had no luck (QUITE painful the next day), so I was knocked out while my hubby waited outside.  Reese Abigail was born at 5:29 PM weighing 3 lbs and Riley Grace was born at 5:30 PM weighing 2 lbs 3 oz.  

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Reese when she was 3 days old

DSCF1231Riley when she was 3 days old

The NICU was amazing- the nurses were so kind, reassuring, and knowledgeable.  The doctors were amazing as well.  By the grace of God, my babies were not born with any health issues.  They had to learn to breathe outside the womb and stayed awhile in order to learn and master the “suck, swallow, breathe” reflex- eating and breathing are quite important!  So after many tears from mommy and daddy (it’s scary to see your babies so small and sad to leave them each night), bacterial infections, staph infections, blood transfusions, Riley (who was named the “feisty one”) pulling out her feeding tube at least twice a day, jaundice, weight gains and losses, and finally mastering feeding after 38 days for Reese and 55 for Riley, we were finally home with our angels: Reese 4 lbs 9 oz, Riley 3 lbs 11 oz.  I couldn’t believe that we were allowed to take them home! :)  I have to admit we were terrified.  

They’ve come a long way this year (and so have we… we kinda know what we’re doing now) and it was a joy to see those nurses and dr at the NICU Reunion, so they could see with their own eyes- the fruits of their labor!   I will never forget September 4, 2008, Reese and Riley’s birth day, as “blurry” as it feels.  It was the day my life changed forever- for the better.  As a year is approaching, I’m so thankful, have fallen more and more in love with my husband watching him with his girls, and my heart melts daily when Reese and Riley’s eyes light up when they see ME, their mama.  Their first birthday will be a CELEBRATION of how far they have come and what little miracles they are!  I guess that’s why I have been so emotional… it’s thanksgiving.  Overwhelming thanksgiving.  

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Reese when she was 309 days old (She now weighs 18 lbs)

DSC03072Riley when she was 309 days old (She now weighs 16 1/2 lbs)

10 thoughts on “The First Year

  1. Happy birthday to your girls!!!

    I felt like the first birthday marked a real celebration for my husband and I—we had survived that first hard year, full of sleepless nights, breastfeeding, diapering, learning to take care of two babies. I don’t think it’s ever quite as hard as that first year, and things get so much more fun with the kids! Enjoy!

  2. Congratulations on surviving (and thriving) the first year! Your girls are beautiful. My boys will be 1 year old on August 5th, and I am completely overwhelmed with emotions.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Great post! The first birthday with twins, especially with preemies, is so emotional- isn’t it? It’s lovely to see the pics- how happy and healthy your girls are. You’ve obviously done a stupendous job!

  4. Beautiful post. We are also emotional as we approach the twins first birthday and can’t wait to return to the NICU for a huge thank you and ofcourse a “look at them now”. Blessings!

  5. Pingback: From the Archives: Prematurity and the NICU - How Do You Do It?

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