Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rewind to The Twins Time in NICU

I realized recently that I never documented about our time in the hospital. Many of these days were a blur and very repetitive but I want to capture what I remember from the first 16 days our our sweet babies lives.
First time holding my sweet Princess.
First time holding my handsome Prince.
Jackson was our Baby A the Big Brother. He was born first weighing 5 pounds 2 ounce and 17.5" inches long. Riggs, Baby B, was our sweet little sister weighing 4 pounds 9 ounces and was 19 inches long-dainty from the moment she was born. Since they were only 34 weeks 2 days gestation the twins were taken immediately to NICU to be cared for by a group of amazing nurses and doctors.

Jackson hanging out in his Isolate.
Burping Riggs after a feeding-so tiny.
The first two days they spent in NICU 1 which is the more critical section-I think this is where all NICU babies go at first. Jackson was strong from the beginning and Riggs needed a little help breathing she was on a ventilator for about 12 hours-once that was removed she never looked back and has became such a strong little girl. On Friday they were moved down to NICU 2 since they were such low maintenance babies. NICU 1 it is a large room with sectioned off areas, they were in a quad with a baby between them each way-in NICU 2 we pretty much had a private room to get to know and love on our sweet babes.

Jackson's Isolate.
A partial view of their room.
In the NICU there are 3 things the babies must accomplish to be discharged. 1-Breathe on their own 2-Take all meals from a bottle for 48 hours (no tube feedings) 3-Maintain their body temperature for 48 hours in an open air crib.

During the entire pregnancy we though Riggs was our bigger baby-I think it was due to how they calculate weight and since she was so long they thought she should be bigger. Also "Whimpy White Boy Syndrome" this is really what the doctors call it. For some reason white baby boys seem to be the least developed when born prematurely, however as you can see from above we had the opposite at birth.

Both babies just spent most of their days sleeping Aaron and I got into the routine that we were mainly there for their 9am, 3pm and 9pm feedings. They were on a 3 hour schedule so they ate every three hours which meant I got to pump every three hours to supply their liquid gold. We felt this gave us a good amount of time to spend with them but we were not over stimulating them or over tiring ourselves. As one of the nurses told me we were paying for some really expensive baby sitting. Also until the last 2 or 3 days they were in the isolates to regulate their body temperature so the more we had them out the harder they had to work and the more calories they burned.

Riggs was always a little behind Jackson due to her delayed start at the beginning so we were sure that she would be in the hospital longer than he was. But our sweet girl is such a fighter and actually beat him out by one day. Once she started getting all of our liquids through the bottle and not an IV she only had to be tube fed once or twice. Jackson decided that he wanted to prove us right with the Whimpy White Boy Syndrome. He figured if they would give him his food through a tube why should he wake up to eat. Because of they started feeding him by a tube every other feeding and then once he did well with that 1 out of 3 feedings were with a tube until he showed he was strong enough and willing to eat from a bottle. With these delays Riggs by-passed Jackson on the the discharge countdown. We were very fortunate however that they were discharged just a day apart.

It is amazing how quickly something becomes your norm. We both remember feeling like we would break them in the beginning and then by the end the nurses didn't have to do much of anything when we were around. All of the nurses were amazing and we especially loved Dr. Brown. He was the resident neonatologist. He was so easy to talk to and was able to quickly put away any concerns we had about the babies. He has now finished his residency and is off to Kentucky to do ER pediatrics. I know every sweet child he treats is in great hands!

Thursday April 28th we got to bring our sweet Riggs home. It was such a flood of emotions. We were excited, nervous and sad all at the same time. This was the day we had waited for for so long we were finally bring home a baby. You were so little, I remember the nurse putting you in your car seat I was so afraid we were going to crush you. All of you stuff was packed up you were put on a cart and it was time to go. This is such a happy time but also one that made Mommy sad. Jackson was still laying there in his bed as we walked out the door. I was finally bringing home a baby but we were supposed to have two at home. We put you in the car and Mommy sat in the back with you as we drove home. Finally you were home little girl.

Riggs ready to go home.
Daddy carrying Riggs into the house.
Nothing sweeter.
Dressing Riggs for her first night at home.
You had your first baby sitter your first night home. Aunt Siri came over so we could go back and feed Jackson and make sure he was still doing ok at the hospital. While he missed you he was as sweet as ever. It was strange when we went back in many ways. We were there to see only one baby and Jackson had a new roommate. He was a sweet little boy that was much sicker than the two of you-it made me and daddy realize how lucky we truly were. We gave Jackson his bottle tucked him in and told him we would be back the next day to bring him home.

Jackson's last night in the NICU.
On Friday Riggs and I had our first mommy-daughter bonding moment. We got to watch the royal wedding together. You feeding times were perfect. We woke up at 6am and Kate was just getting to the Abbey we watched the ceremony and went back to sleep. We then got up at 9am for your next feeding and to see Will and Kate arriving at the Palace where the first kiss would take place. It was such a sweet moment that I will never forget. You then had your second babysitter. Auntie Staci came over to watch you so daddy and I could go get Jackson discharged from the hospital.

Riggs in her British babylegs ready to watch the Royal Wedding.
When we first got there he was gone to get his circumcision. We were hoping that it would have been done the day before but the doctor got backed up. You were brought back soon after we got there. You did not seem too upset. You were going to town on the sucrose water. After the nurse checked everything we gave you a bottle and then left to run a few errands while you crossed you later hurdle of having a wet diaper after your procedure.

We came back an hour or so later and you were ready to go. We loaded you and your stuff up on the cart just like we did your sister and we were on our way out. While we did not get to come home as a family of 4 we finally were going to have everyone home together. This was the moment we had been waiting for for so long. Our entire sweet little family home.

Jackson ready to come home.
Home at last.
Our sweet boy is home.
Showing Jackson around his house.
Our sweet friends Sandy, Ethan and Blake came to visit you guys that night they were so excited to finally meet the "twins".

Sandy, Blake & Ethan checking out Riggs with Staci.
Jackson, Blake and Riggs. Blake is 3 months older than the twins.
While I have missed many of the details of these weeks I am now glad to have small parts documented to help us remember how it all began.

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