Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Birth of the Sprouts Part Three

After all the excitement of Part Two,, they got a suite ready and dragged all the neonatologists out of the NICU to attend, got Nigel suited up, and here we went. I was freezing to death (what a change) and terrified. Nigel was trying so hard to remain calm. He doesn’t like anything to do with blood or any other bodily functions, so I give him ten stars for his wonderful strength. They told us that since the babies were 28 weeks and 4 days, they probably wouldn’t breathe on their own at birth and we wouldn’t hear them cry. They told us that we couldn’t see or touch any of them because they would be rushed to radiant heater beds scattered about the room to be worked on by the neonatologists and nurses. They really prepared us for a great crisis.

The delivery was fast. I got the lovely vertical cut, which didn’t matter to me, since I already had one from the ’88 surgery. I kind of hoped they would go horizontal so I could show off my + sign, but speed was more important. They pulled The Princess out first, at 8:32pm. She cried!!!!! I started crying, too. The nurse taking her to her radiant heat bed held her up high, and I saw her!!! She was terribly ugly and extremely beautiful! Just tiny! The Starving Child came next at 8:33. He didn’t cry, but Nigel saw them taking him to his bed and says he saw him moving his tiny arms. The Lottery Winner arrived at 8:34, and he cried, too!! The Lottery Winner weighed 2 lbs. 2 oz., The Starving Child, 2 lbs. 3 oz., and The Princess, 2 lbs. 4 oz. They were each a little over a foot long.

I didn’t get to see them for two and a half days. That was the absolute worst part. My parents got to see them. Nigel got to see them. One of his FRIENDS got to see them. My f*&^ing in-laws got to see them. But not me. They kept telling me they wanted my lungs and heart to straighten out first and that it would be hard to go into the NICU with my oxygen tank. So I finally went on a 10 hour crying and screaming jag and threatened to drag myself there on the floor if they wouldn’t take me. I got to go.

They were absolutely adorable. The tiniest things I’ve ever seen. The no nipples thing got me a bit perturbed until they explained it. By the time I got there, The Princess was already using a nasal cannula and was in an isolette (the things they used to call incubators). The boys were not doing as well. The NICU nurses said that there is a common saying, “Girls rule; boys drool,” as far as preemies go. It turned out to be pretty true. Just about everything curable that they could have had, the boys had. Fortunately, all curable! My brother, an LPN, came down to visit us and was astounded by the strength of the antibiotics they were giving the boys. They both had bilateral inguinal hernias that required surgery. They both had patent ductus arteriosis that responded to medication, so didn’t require surgery. It took forever to get them from intubation to CPAP to cannula and there were lots of steps backward before they went forward. They both got just about every infection possible: Pneumonia, gram negative sepsis, meningitis. I didn’t get to hold The Lottery Winner until he was almost a month old, and The Starving Child took even longer than that.

Since I wasn’t able to see them for so long, and since they were getting sugar water with electrolytes for food through a nasogastric tube, I started pumping even before I got to see them. Pumping sucks. I pumped for six months, then had to either give it up or give up going to see The Lottery Winner after the other two came home. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. Fortunately, I had pumped enough to keep frozen for another two months after I stopped.

Part Four to follow.

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