31 Mar 2011

High Pain Threshold

I have been told I have a high pain threshold.  When I was 13 I dislocated my knee cap and the ambulance EMTs told me I must take pain extremely well because I wasn't shedding any tears, I was just a little freaked out at the sight of my knee cap sitting in a spot it shouldn't be!  Over the years I always hoped when it came time to have children that my high pain threshold would kick in and I would cruise through labour and delivery without an epidural and in little discomfort.  Be careful what you wish for, is all I can say now!

In January 2010 I found out I was having twins early on at about 12 weeks.  Based on the fact I had my first son 8.5 weeks early and we were unsure why, my midwife and my G.P. recommended early screening by ultrasound.  I remained adamant that I wanted to have a midwife assist me in the delivery of my babies if at all possible and I had the luxury of having "shared care" between my midwife and an OBGYN.

A little while later I found out we were expecting fraternal boys.  Their estimated due date was July 26, which was 3 weeks after their older brother had been due 2 years prior.  Upon learning we were expecting twins I knew immediately my pregnancy was extremely high risk.  It was high risk to begin with, but a second baby got thrown into the mix this time. 

My first appointment to meet my OBGYN--who was also the doctor on call the night our first preemie arrived--was not until I would be 28 weeks along.  I thought that was insane, since our first arrived at 31 weeks.  My midwife agreed to try to get me in sooner and I was able to be accomodated.  I met my OBGYN for the first time during my 26th week.  He did not recommend bedrest or stopping work, just suggested to avoid stress (hahaha) and take it easy.

About a week and a half later I had just arrived to work after a restless night in bed.  I mentioned to my good friend/co-worker that maybe I have should have called in sick because I just didn't feel good.  I could feel the babies moving around throughout the night and physically feel/see my stomach stretching.  A few minutes later, after telling my friend I felt ill, I came back from the washroom and asked her to call my OB, while I paged my midwife.  My mucous plug had come out and I was not amused.  With my first son, this also happened, but he stayed in for about another two months.

My OB and midwife said not to worry, it happens often, but to be safe I would be seen for an emergeny ultrasound.  Hubby came to get me and off we went to the clinic.

I had the ultrasound done and the tech was happy with what she was seeing.  She told me I could run to the washroom and come back and she would take some shots just for me to see the babies and provide some pictures.  Once she put the wand back on my stomach, she grew quiet and asked, "Are you feeling any pain, pressure, tightening?"  Uuuh-oooh.  This isn't good, I thought.  No, I feel some discomfort.  Haha.  Maybe I need to check the dictionary on the actual definition of discomfort vs. pain.

She proceeded to take the mouse and draw a straight line in a particular area of the screen and then type 1.8".  I knew what this meant immediately, but she couldn't confirm it and I had to wait for the doctor to tell me, who conveniently went off on lunch!  The length of my cervix had decreased a fair bit between her first look and my washroom break.  I was disheartened and frustrated, as only 3 weeks earlier at that ultrasound I was told my cervical length was better than good and I should have no worries.

The concern had become that I may have had an "incompetent cervix," during the first pre-term delivery, which had gone undetected because I wasn't having monthly ultrasounds.  This was one of the reasons I had monthly ultrasounds with the twins, to keep tabs on things and catch anything early.  Basically, what the term incompetent cervix means, is the length of the cervix shortens too fast/early in the pregnancy, which then threatens early arrival of the baby or babies.

I had to wait around for almost 3 hours before I could get in to see the doctor, due to his lunch break and a call to the hospital that he had to deal with.  It was nerve wracking for me and my family!

The doctor saw me and confirmed what I already knew.  He did not seem overly concerned, but did recommend I have corticosteroid shots, meant to assist in speeding up the development of the babies' lungs.  I went a couple hours later to the hospital to have this done and a second shot was done again 24 hours later. 

I had asked the doctor if this now meant I should go on bedrest or stay off work at least.  He said, no, see how I feel over the weekend, don't go to work on Friday (the next day) and if I feel good enough to work on Monday, go for it...

28 Mar 2011

Meet Preemie #1

My experience with premature babies has been a whirlwind.  Married June 2007, with one preemie arriving 11 months later and two more preemies arriving one month before our 3rd anniversary! 

My first preemie miracle entered my life in May 2008.   He arrived eight and a half weeks early, much to everyone's surprise.

Prior to having my first preemie baby, I had never really known anyone personally that had dealt with the premature birth of a child. 

I felt alone and as though my friends and family couldn't really identify with all the mixed emotions my husband and I were living with.  I felt I had been robbed of the ideal baby arrival.  My ideal and really the only thing I'd ever considered included a trip to the hospital, the anticipation and process of labour and delivery, and then a beautiful baby for everyone to come in and "ooh and aah" over, while I sat in my hospital bed with a big, happy new mommy smile on my face.

Instead, my reality consisted of not feeling too well one evening, something just not right.  I called my midwife who told me to be on the safe side to go into the hospital to meet her there to be checked out.  Most likely I was experiencing braxton hicks contractions, as I was at 31 weeks. 

I took my time packing a small bag, just in case.  I was oblivious to the fact that I was in labour, as I just didn't expect it.  I expected this baby to be late.  I didn't feel what you hear about your entire life from mothers, friends or from anyone else.  I just "didn't feel right."  I honestly thought I had some terrible bowel obstruction or kidney stones, as the discomfort began to get worse after I spoke to my midwife.

I arrived at the hospital with my husband, who parked the car, while I went in to check in at the desk.  My husband and I didn't have any concerns about me being left alone...because I wasn't in labour, right?  The lady at the desk didn't seem too concerned either by my overall demeanour, as she certainly didn't rush to get me checked in. LOL.

We arrived at 11:35 P.M. in the parking lot and our beautiful baby boy arrived at 11:53 P.M.  He arrived 18 minutes after we got to the hospital!

Once I got up to the labour and delivery ward everything moved quick.  I was examined, only to be told I was fully dilated and I didn't even know it!!  How could I not feel the pain I'd always been told was the worst pain a woman could go through?  Why were there no symptoms? 

My son was born within a few moments and he was rushed into the nursery for high needs care.  He was breathing on his own, but about half an hour later he began "grunting." Grunting is the actual term the doctors used and is in reference to the small  grunting noise a baby may begin to make if having a hard time breathing.  He was then intubated to aid him with his breathing.  I still had yet to meet my little boy.  When he was born they whipped him to my left side, showed him to me and then took off to get him checked out.

Our hospital is not equipped with a NICU and therefore he had to be transported out to another hospital with a Level III NICU.  There was talk of flying him out to Ottawa, Kingston or even Buffalo, where beds were available!  First came the shock of my baby's very early arrival and now there was the shock that we may have to let our baby go in a helicopter without his parents to a NICU hundreds and hundreds of kilometres away or even into the U.S.!  I was mortified and my husband began preparing his mind to drive a very long trip to meet up with our baby.

Thankfully, our baby was able to find a bed about 100 kilometres away and in a city with a Ronald McDonald House operation.  We were very thankful for this sudden change of events!

After five days in a Paediatric Critical Care Unit, which was able to provide dedicated 24 hour nursing care, just as a NICU would have, our son was able to move to a Level II NICU near our home.

Our son was lucky, and after about a week of CPAP to aid in his breathing, the new focus to get him home was getting him nursing and gaining weight.

Our boy was able to come home when he was 3 weeks and 5 days old--35 weeks gestation.

My next blog will be about our twins' early arrival, just shy of two years after our first preemie arrived.

Thanks for reading!

25 Mar 2011

Random thought on potty training

Note to self: Don't put your potty training boy in overalls if he doesn't know how to get them off!

24 Mar 2011

Welcome to Twintrospectives!

Welcome to Twintrospectives!  After an 11 month rollercoaster ride, filled with ups and downs, turmoil and joy, I can finally say I have a good grasp on the realities of my family life with three young boys and have some time to share my thoughts along the way.  This blog will be introspective and my outlet to discuss observations of family life and the world around us. 

My twin boys are almost one and I wonder where the time went.  After spending over 3.5 months in a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU,) which felt like an eternity, the rest of the year--although extremely busy with a jam packed calendar--has felt like a breeze.

I hope to provide other parents of premature (preemie) babies the opportunity to discuss and ask questions, discuss anything and everything "multiples," talk about parenting kids whether you've got "singletons" or "multiples," and see where else this blog takes me.

Please join me on this new journey and share your thoughts and comments along the way! :)