On March 1, 2011 at exactly 33 weeks our three precious babies were born. I’m amazed that I was actually able to sleep the night before. I was excited and nervous and Justin and I just kept saying “Our babies are coming today, that’s so crazy!”
It didn’t happen until I was actually in the prep room, but I got really scared of getting the epidural. I didn’t know if it would hurt terribly or not, but in my mind it was going to. My nurses and anesthesiologist were very sweet and kept me from going completely nuts (I don’t say calm, because my heart rate shot up to 150 bpm) and I made it through the epidural, which really wasn’t too bad. The anticipation of it was definitely the worst part. It kind of felt like a bad charley horse in your back for just a second.
I was still really nervous going into the delivery room. The magnitude of knowing that we were about to meet our babies and forever be parents in addition to being awake while they cut me open was all just a bit overwhelming. There were tons of people in the operating room. I had two ob’s doing the surgery, an anesthesiologist, an anesthesiologist nurse, two nurses for me, a team of three for each baby consisting of a neonatologist, a respiratory specialist and a nicu nurse and I’m sure there were a couple other people there too. It was incredibly loud, but I could only see the sheet right in front of me. It was so close it was touching my face. Everything was so loud I wasn’t sure when they actually started but a nurse leaned over and told me we were about 5 minutes away from meeting the babies. I hear my doctor say “Well hello, sweetheart” and then baby crying and then she was holding him up over the sheet for me to see my boy Oliver. The same happened two more times with our girls Zoey, then Quinn. All three of them cried, but Justin and I only got a little misty. I thought surely I would cry (because I’m kind of a cryer), but just like when we got engaged, I surprised myself by keeping my eyes dry. There was so much going on and three babies to listen for and hope were doing ok that the emotional part of me was just not at the forefront of my mind.
They wheeled the babies by me in their warmers while I got stitched up, but I saw them each for just a second. I remember that I told the nurse I was having a hard time breathing. I thought I was taking deep, slow breaths, but she told me I was breathing way too fast. I guess I wasn’t used to breathing just for me anymore and actually having the room to take a big deep breath. I had to spend about two hours in the recovery room before going to see the babies on the way to my postpartum room. Those two hours were pretty miserable. My legs felt like they were floating above the bed and I just wanted to feel some pressure against them. After a little while it felt like pins and needles all over like when your leg is waking up from falling asleep, except it lasted for a couple of hours. Finally, they wheeled me up to see them in the NICU.
Oliver weighed 4lbs. 6oz. and was 17 3/4 inches long. He was on a breathing tube that first day, fulfilling the “wimpy white boy syndrome” that our pediatrician had told us about. For some reason, girls just tend to do better in the NICU. It didn’t take O long to shed this stereotype though.
Zoey weighed 3lbs. 10oz. and was 17 1/2 inches long. She was breathing on her own immediately and has never needed any type of breathing assistance.
Quinn weighed 3lbs. 8oz. and was 17 inches long. She was also breathing on her own immediately. Way to go girls!
Because of their gestational age, there are a few things that they all needed, including iv’s, feeding tubes, and bed warmers. At 33 weeks, babies can’t regulate their own body temperature or suck, swallow and breathe at the same time, so it takes a little while before they can start trying to bottle feed. I started pumping within a few hours of the surgery so they started getting my breast milk in addition to formula right away.
They’re also all on monitors that display vital signs to the nurses. We’re able to see their heart rates, respiratory rates and oxygen saturation at all times. There’s a minimum and maximum range that their numbers are supposed to stay within, and if they drop or go above then an alarm goes off letting the nurses know. At 33 weeks their heart rates drop from time to time, which is called a bradycardia (brady). They’ve been really good at getting their heart rates back up on their own a lot of the time, but sometimes they need a little external stimulation to make them snap out of it. The girls have been put on caffeine to help stimulate them so they don’t have as many. This is something that they will grow out of within the next week or two as they get closer to their full term due date, which was April 19.
Overall, the babies are incredibly healthy and just have a few things to learn before they’re able to come home. They spent just under 10 days in the NICU and are now in the special care nursery at our hospital, which is an incredibly nice private room where we get to stay with our babies and actually have places to sit and keep food and for me to pump all in the same room as the babies. We are so blessed to live close to this hospital. Who knew we would ever need a perinatologist or NICU when we moved into our house just 5 miles away? God continues to provide for us in every way, and we can’t wait to bring these babies home. Still not sure yet when that will be, but they’re getting bigger (and cuter!) every day.
More pictures and words on who these little ones are coming soon.