Let's start with the ugly. That would be me as a finalist in the TMZ.com "Show us your Guts" contest. Indeedy, I may be a winner by the time you read this. (If it's still Monday, go vote on Tmz.com for the freaky woman with the ginormous belly. The main competition is She-ripped who is pretty and her abs are rock hard!) And yes, I am un-anonymizing (a word?) myself and I am not usually this unattractive. It is actually the last picture of the babies inside me. Dave took it Monday night while I was resting in the hospital. I knew after he took it that I looked freakily enormous and apparently, quite a few TMZ readers agree with my assessment. (One of my nurses just stopped by and said that everyone on this shift is voting for me. Awwww!) Updated: Voting still going on Tuesday.
So that's the ugly. Let's move on to the bad. Although I am feeling a thousand times better today than I did yesterday, having our babies in the NICU is hard. Folks, it is just hard. I had my children 3 days ago and I have yet to hold them. I haven't even seen Christopher's hair, which I've heard is dark brown. His CPAP is covering his head and there are tubes coming out of his nose and there is tape all over his face. Today, I did get to hold a pacifier in for him while he was waiting for his food. I have held Bridget's hand and foot, but she is quite the firecracker (according to the nurses) and will get angry if she is disturbed too much. So I can't really interact with her yet because it hurts her breathing, her oxygen intake and her heart rate. That sort of sucks, in case you were wondering. I know (hope, believe) that I will be able to hold and bond and parent my children, but at this point, I feel like a visitor to my own children's bedsides. And not everything is to my liking. They are in separate isolettes. My understanding is that twins do much better when they are healing together. Another problem is that a friend who works here was so excited to tell me that they'll be on a schedule when they leave her. I looked at her and had to explain, that's not really my parenting style. I fully understand that twins cannot be "on demand" like singletons, but I've got to learn more about this whole scheduling thing. Surely, they aren't "Baby Wise" in the NICU.
In any case, having one's children in the NICU is hard. It is not fun. It is not "oh, everything will be fine in just a few weeks." It is tough now and it will be tough for a while, especially since our little ones are going to be there for a couple of weeks.
So, now, let's turn to the Good. Bridget has finally picked up some speed on her recovery. And my output from pumping has picked up considerably. Since the only thing that I can do for my babies is pump milk, it's taken on some serious importance to me. But first, the progress of Christopher and Bridget. (Holy cow! I have two new people in my family! I can't wait to get to meet them and know them!!!) Christopher is a giant among preemies. And despite my predictions of his very active self from all his kicking, he follows in his father's and his brother's mellow styles of being. He is eating well--so well, they've increased his feeding schedule. He has had at least 2 if not 3 trials of breathing of his own and has done well. He is really doing great.
Bridget is taking a little longer than him to hit the NICU milestones--"not progressing as well" as one nurse said. Usually they have problems with the Wimpy White Boys in NICU. She was showing signs of being a Whimpy White Girl. Last night, when we went to bed, we were told that if she didn't start breathing with less than 25% (30%?) oxygen, they were going to have to do a chest x-ray to look for fluid on her lungs or other problems. This morning, when I called at 5 am, I found out that she had stayed below the required oxygen all night long and didn't need the chest x-ray. I was thrilled. She even got to start eating today and we came down for her first feeding. It was pretty exciting to watch the food go down her tube while she sucked on a pacifier. Yes, let's wander back to the bad since that is not how anyone envisions their child's first meal.
Folks, I am thrilled about these beautiful little babies that have completed our family. And I am heartbroken sitting in my hospital room by myself without them. And I feel guilty as hell that I had all these health problems and I couldn't carry them to term. I am proud of myself that they were as big as they were. But I still feel sort of like a failure that I couldn't make it any longer. And I feel a little bit angry at the doctor's for not giving them steroids for lung development earlier. I know that their delivery caught everyone by surprise, but still. And Kate/Ema did ask why they didn't do that. Have I even told their birth story yet?
In any case, I have more to write about. But I do need to get some sleep. I'm pumping in another hour, but still, those naps help me rest up.
I know everyone reacts differently. And I'm glad to have these premature babies in this day and age. But I would really rather that they never spent an hour in NICU, much less two to three weeks. I wish they were in my room and in my arms practicing their nursies right now.