Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tonight's Sacrifices

I sacrificed eating dinner at a reasonable hour, opting to wait until the mini's went to bed.
I sacrificed using the surround sound while watching tv. (granted, we were watching Scrubs reruns, so that wasn't a huge sacrifice.
I sacrificed my Oreos.
Later, I sacrificed a cozy night in bed to get up and tend to two bellowing teething babies.
I sacrificed my lower back lifting them both at once.
I sacrificed my resolve to not give them night bottles.
I sacrificed my kids' livers to the god called Motrin.
I sacrificed my fingers by poking them into Razor sharp mouths with ztrong jaws in order to distribute the glory of god Orajel.
I sacrificed the cozy happiness of one child so I could put the other down in his crib.
I sacrificed my iPhone. Willingly and knowingly, I HANDEDit to the child that was nit yer asleep in hopes of maintaining his happiness and quiet long enough for me to put the other guy down. (Didn't work, btw. He came running down the hall screaming at top volume with my phone in his hand while I held my breath and tried to get his brother down before the screaming woke him.)
I sacrificed SLEEP.

Earlier today, however, I sacrificed time with my guys. I went into the other room ro work while Hubby watched them. I could hear them play. I could hear them cry. I could hear when K but H. I reminded myself that Hubby was handling it. Working from home allows me to BE at home, so it is extremely important. Still, sitting separated from my guys was the biggest sacrifice ywt.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One Year Anniversary of Korben Homecoming

first car ride

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the youngest of my twins coming home from the hospital after an 85 day stay.  At this time last year, I was embarking on an exhilarating yet terrifying journey.  The well being of my sweet little men, born so early and so tiny, was to depend entirely on my husband and myself.

I knew all too well the fear that the transition to home care would spark.  We actually had brought K home from the hospital once before.  He was home less than 24 hours, however.  During the time he was home with us, his alarm went off almost every hour and he actually turned blue a couple of times.  (We later found out that a nurse had given us bad information, telling us to not elevate his bed.)  We were so happy bringing him home.  So happy.  We snuggled and cared for him all evening, handling his alarms and his interrupted breathing with a certain amount of calm.  The husband had to work the next day, so he went to bed late, and I cared for K alone all night and the next day.  By the end of it, I was a shell of a person.  There was no question that his alarms were not false.  He physically was turning blue with many of the spells.  I revived him each time as I had been shown in the hospital.  The nurse's words kept ringing in my ears, "you took the CPR class, right?"  Please, please don't let me need to give him CPR. I didn't need to administer CPR, but three of his episodes were bad enough that they prompted me to give him oxygen.

When Hubby got home from work, he found me still in pajamas, unfed, unwilling to leave the cribside.  I was so relieved.  Everything would be okay now.  I don't know why I thought Hubby's appearance would solve everything.  It did not.  K continued to have spells, and one spell actually caused him to go limp.  One moment he was awake, experimentally kicking his feet, then he turned dusky, his alarm went off, and he stopped moving.  We revived him with stimulation and oxygen, and in desperation I called the hospital.  I was hoping for a change in medication or formula, or perhaps some instructions or suggestions on how to reduce the frequency of the spells.  Instead of being given instructions, I was told to bring him back to the NICU.

I sobbed harder than I think I had cried the entire time he had been in the hospital.  I was beside myself.  I was a failure, and would be separated again from my baby.  To this day, I feel the doc asked to bring K back not because she thought he needed to be in the hospital, but because she doubted my ability to properly care for him.  None of the nurses had ever seen anyone admitted back to the NICU.

He spent another couple of weeks there, had some tests run, and gradually the frequency of his spells decreased.  Still, I was panic stricken.  What if we had a repeat?  What if there was something in the home environment that caused more spells?  Was it me?  The cat hair?  The temperature in their room? He did have a couple additional bad spells after returning to the hospital, but improved greatly over the next couple of weeks.  I felt like the nurses that were watching him during his bad spells understood my fears, but the other nurses thought there was something wrong with me.  I didn't want to take him home until I thought he was ready.

After a couple of weeks, however, and a change in medication and instructions, I knew it was time.  I was ready to try it again, and I felt he was as ready as he would ever be.  I was so excited and nervous.  I could not sleep the night before he was scheduled to come home.  I was up until five in the morning.

I went to the hospital in the morning. The guys were going to take a "swallow test" to see if their reflux was caused by  physical problem. We all understood that of the test went well, I'd be taking k home. In fact, k didn't strictly need the test. He suffered from reflux, but was improving  H's reflux was still quite bad, however, so we decided to run the test on them both. The swallow test went smoothly. My guys were the darlings of the radiology lab. The nurses kind of fought over who got to hold them. 

I was given the go ahead to take K home, for good this time. 

I shocked the nurses by saying I would be back that afternoon to retrieve him. I was running on zero sleep, and knew i was in for a long night. I needed to prepare for the possibility of another horrible experience, of another night full of alarms and oxygen and the possibility of needing CPR.  Even if this didn't happen, at the very least I was in for waking every three hours, feeding, administering medications, taking temperature, and then sleeping for an hour before starting again. I NEEDED to get some rest. Waiting for afternoon also gave my folks a chance to come up for the event, and my husband a chance to get off work. 
Ignoring the disapproving look from the nurse, I went home to vacuum the nursery one last time and to nap. 

I did take a few minutes to meet the Hubby and one set of his folks for lunch. This would later come back to bite me in the ass. In the coming months, these people who were never present during Hubby's childhood would let their evil show through. They would decide I was an unfit mom based on the fact that my guys were chubby and that I waited until afternoon to pick up K. What kind of mother, they would say, doesn't immediately being her child home?  The answer to this is:  a mother who has dealt with separation for three months and is willing to do so for another four hours in order to be better prepared to care for her child. But I digress.

The point is, napped, showered, with my parents and Hubby in tow, I returned to the hospital to pick up K. We removed his hospital monitors and hooked him up to our portable home monitors. I struggled with putting his coat and hat on him. He cried for a moment when we buckled him into the car seat carrier. My parents filmed. 

I kissed H goodbye. That was awful. Leaving one behind was somehow worse than leaving them both there. My heart would be divided. I cannot even express what it feels like to separate your twins, leaving one at the hospital while the other comes home. I knew that I would be spending more time with K, as H was in the care of nurses.  I would not see him as much, and it was a a terrible wrenching pain to say goodbye to him.

I wept quietly while I the nurse carried K and all of his monitors downstairs with me. Hubby had gone to get the car. My parents filmed as I struggled with snapping the car seat into its base, hugged the nurse, and climbed in the back next to K.

This time, things went much more smoothly.  We elevated his bed, and he had many less spells.  He did occasionally turn dusky, but it was with a frequency that I could handle, and he never went limp again.  We did continue to have some trouble for the first couple of days with keeping his temperature up and getting him to wake to eat.  I now think this was just a matter of him adjusting to a new environment. He was home, and he was doing well.  

I wold leave him for a little while every day to visit H.  I called the doc's office almost daily, worried about temperature, snotty nose, feedings, etc. but it was all normal new parent worry.  Everything was wonderful.  My baby was home.  I felt like I could really start to get to know him.  Now I refused to leave his cribside, but it was only because I could not get enough of him.  Exhausted beyond exhaustion, missing H, so much that it was a physical pain, I still was the happiest I had ever been.  

A year later, K is walking and giving us quite a bit of attitude.  He throws his broccoli on the floor.  He pushes his brother off the rocking horse.  He loves to be chased and 'gotten.'  He is wonderful and amazing and I'm so happy to know him.