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Becky's Twins Journal

Part 2 - A journal of Konstance and Paloma's stay in the NICU

January 22, 1999 ~ continued

PalomaThey had apgar scores of 9 and 9 and 8 and 9. Keith went up to the NICU with the girls soon after they were born. They were put under heat hood beds, and we went to see them really late that night. I held Konstance first - I took my top sort of off and held her next to my skin, and I did the same with Paloma. They did really well that night.

January 23, 1999

They moved them into incubators today, which is a step up! Stanzi got a small rubbery tube put down her throat, through her nose; it's for squirting food down. I started putting them to breast today - they both try SO hard to latch on.

January 24, 1999

mom and daughtersMy milk still hadn't come in today, and I was really discouraged. We told the nurses to give them a little formula because they were sort of telling us to. They had their first taste of breastmilk today, so they didn't get too much formula! The doctors are wondering if they're digesting it and so they're really watching it. They told me that Paloma had an x-ray because her tummy was so bloated. They're concerned about all the bubbles in her tummy.

January 25, 1999

In the night they informed me that now both of the babies' tummies were getting distended (bloated); they both got x-rays. They now have these awful looking tubes down their mouths and this big white tape holds it down so you can't see their beautiful little mouths. They can't eat any food now and they're on IV's. It's so discouraging because Stanzi latched on in the night and sucked for 30 minutes. I held them for two hours in the night.

January 26, 1999

KonstanceThey had x-rays again and Stanzi's tummy had an inflamed part and so they're really concerned. Paloma's looks better, but it needs to get more normal before she comes off the throat tube. Stanzi has a blood infection now and tomorrow she has to get a spinal tap to get the blood/fluid from there to see if her blood infection is in her nervous system. If it is, then she has to be on antibiotics for 21 days instead of 7. Paloma doesn't have a blood infection thankfully. The girls are now under bili lights and so we can't hold them except for 1/2 hour in the morning and a 1/2 hour at night. My milk is coming in more and more. Keith held them for about 2 hours before the bili lights.

January 27, 1999

babies togetherThe night was uneventful (thankfully). Today Stanzi had her spinal tap and I'm just sick about it. I am so scared. I keep on breaking down and freaking out about the pain and suffering they're experiencing. I went in and held them and a nurse took a Polaroid of them. They looked SO good, probably because the ugly suction tubes got removed. Later on, Stanzi had to have a smaller suction tube put down her throat again, but it didn't look like it was as uncomfortable. They're under the bili lights still. We're not sure how long they'll have to be under them. While we went out to eat, Stanzi had her spinal tap. We had a lot of prayers going up for her. When we came back, they said that everything went remarkably well. Her back is a little puffy now and she has a band aid right above her hips. She also has an IV in her head - which looks bad, but at least her arms are free to move around right now. Their x-rays looked a lot better!

At night, my mom and dad came to see the girls. I scrubbed up and went to show my parents the babies and the nurse seemed to be acting a little strange. I went to get Paloma and earlier she had her diapers off so that she could get more exposure to the lights and so when I went to pick her up, she still didn't have any diapers on. That was fine with me, but when I went to put a fresh diaper on her, her blankets were really moist and it made me jump because I didn't expect it. I went and got some blankets to wrap her in and I thought more and more about the moist blankets and how it must have been a long time since the nurse had attended to Paloma and so I mentioned it to the Nurse Practitioner and she said to talk to the nurse. The nurse sort of seemed frustrated by me, but Paloma is my daughter and I felt I had the right to say something. I told Keith and he agreed that I mentioned it to the Nurse Practitioner.

We had KMV go home with my parents and we spent from about 11pm until 2 in the morning in there. I think it drove the nurse crazy, but it was so wonderful that we got to spend so much time together.

January 28, 1999

The girls didn't have hardly any apnea spells in the night. Today was a VERY blessed day. Stanzi's infection wasn't in her spine - thankfully and so she won't need to be on 21days of antibiotics! Yesterday was real hard on us and so to have such a good day like today was needed. Keith and I went in together and held our wonderful girls for a long time; it was so good for all of us. Their eyes were open a lot. Stanzi's bili lights are off now; she might have to go under again. Paloma is still under them, hopefully not for long! Paloma got her nose tube taken out until she can eat again and Stanzi's mouth tube got taken out! Today was such a good day.

They're keeping an eye on their tummies and they'll probably try to give them a little food soon. It's all so 'come and go'. We went home for the first time since they were born and we got more stuff. We can't believe that the hospital has this rooming-in program with food accommodations etc. Dan and Jeanine came by and they held them for the first time. KMV is back with us. Thank God for this good day.

January 29, 1999

Can you believe that it's been a week since my girls were born? It seems like one really long day. Today was SO good. The prayer chain really has made a difference. Stanzi's IV is out of her head now and back in her hand and this morning, neither of them had anything on their faces. Thankfully, Paloma's nose tube is back in and that means that they're going to try to see if she can eat. She had 3 cc's around 11 and then again at 5 because the morning food got digested!! Hopefully she'll digest the evening food now. Stanzi is doing really well too. Paloma is off of the bili lights for now; it's SO good to hold them again on MY terms. I'm so in love with them; I've been calling them my little stinkers! So far, they haven't had too much apnea. Keith took a Medicaid application to Flandreau. KMV and I went and talked to the girls and Paloma was wide awake and she was SO cute.

Bill and Millie came to visit and so did Pastor and Dolores. They said a prayer - it was so powerful. My mom and dad came later and Mom held both of them. She sang 'Jesus Loves Me' to them and we both started to cry. It's been such a blessed day, I'll keep on thanking God!

January 30 and 31, 1999

My days are so busy, I fell behind. Paloma is eating 6 cc's every 3 hours and Stanzi is eating every 6 hours - 4 cc's. They're doing really well, but the tummy thing has really set them back as far as coming home soon :(. I saw and heard Paloma getting her IV started and she cried SO hard for a 1/2 an hour, I am sort of blue about it.

February 1, 1999

Paloma is doing really well and so is Stanzi, but the doctor explained that since she had the twin-to-twin syndrome, she's out of red blood cells and so we're supposed to decide if we should give her this hormone treatment to see if she could avoid a blood transfusion. It's a hard decision.

February 2, 1999

Stanzi and Paloma did really well today. Paloma was under the bili lights again.

February 3, 1999

Paloma was allowed to nuzzle on my breasts - she got 12+cc's. Stanzi's tummy got a little swollen. It seems like she always has a little more trouble and it makes me cry.

February 4, 1999

Paloma is off her IV and still on the monitor but is now in a bassinet/crib thingy. Stanzi is still on her IV, off of her monitor and antibiotics and is now in a bassinet/crib too. :)

February 5, 1999

Stanzi is off her IV now, but Paloma has to be on her apnea monitor because the nurses weren't at the monitor when it went off and so they have to play it safe and keep her on it another 7 days. I know it's no big deal, but it's just that the nurses hadn't been there!! Plus, Stanzi got to nurse!!

February 6, 1999

The girls did really well today and Stanzi was able to be carried around the nursery because she has no wires. They nursed really well and hopefully soon they'll be able to go home.

February 7 and 8, 1999

I get SO busy, that I forget to write! They've been trying to nurse. It seems like when one does well, the other does the opposite. On the 8th, Konstance had to have an x-ray because her tummy was a little bloated. It gets scary when things like that happen. They got their hearing tested because they can lose their hearing from the antibiotics, but they didn't. They got moved and now they're sleeping together! Pretty soon we can have them in our room! I'm SO excited!

February 10, 1999

Becky and girlsThey spent the majority of the day in our room today. It was really nice, but nurses came in and out all day and KMV had his immunizations yesterday and so he was particularly cranky. Konstance had an echocardiogram on her heart today because she has a heart murmur, but they aren't concerned anymore! We're going to try and let them sleep in our room tonight.

February 13, 1999

The girls are doing better and better. I can't believe how much closer I feel to them now that they've spent hours upon hours in our room. Breastfeeding is going slowly, but we've prayed about it a lot and every time, they do a little bit better. Dr. E said that if they catch on to eating on a regular schedule, that they can probably go home in the next week!

February 14, 1999

girlsThe breastfeeding went really well today. The doctor had told me to let them sleep three hours before they eat and it has really made things much better. We had them in our room and it was so nice. Tonight, Stanzi had to get another x-ray because of her bloated tummy - but everything was okay. Paloma is off her monitor and they have their gavage tubes out.

February 15, 1999

The doctor said that he doesn't see why the girls can't go home tomorrow! I'm trying not to get too excited because things could change, unfortunately. They were in our room again today; I really love that. Sarah, our nurse, who we've made great friends with, came in our room a lot and we had a really nice time with her.

February 18, 1999

going homeOn the night of the 15th, they weighed them that night and they had lost quite a bit of weight and Gwen, the pregnant nurse, told us to expect not to go home on the 16th and so we were pretty frustrated by it. The next day, our nurse Sarah, came in on her time to say bye to us and she told us that she didn't think that we'd get to go home either. So, we waited and waited for Dr. Mc to come and tell us and she surprised us and said that they could go home because she wasn't too concerned about the weight. at homeWe were SO happy, excited and scared all at the same time. So, we got our stuff together and went in the nursery to get discharged. Our CNM was there and we took lots of pictures and we talked a lot. It was a weird feeling for me, like an end of a chapter in my life. Anyway, the nurses, Beth and Hillary, helped carry the girls out and we all squeezed into our car and went home. It's been a good 48 hours since we've been home. I've been sort of weepy and scared about the bills etc. The girls have been terrific; it's the breastfeeding that's been hard for me to figure out. Tomorrow we go to the doctor for their check-up.

March 27, 1999

It's been over a month since I've written. As long as they've been home is how long I haven't written. Where do I begin? I'm so glad to have them home, but the month has been a lot of work. A lot of emotional garbage has been coming out of me. When I got home, for the first few weeks, I thought it was October. I figure it was that I had 'shut myself off' when I found out about the babies and now I'm dealing with it all over again. It's been hard. I feel apart from myself and everyone else. I feel responsible for their suffering and I'm getting sadder it seems. I take showers (the only time that I am alone) and I have flashbacks of the fear I felt being pregnant and of the NICU. What has this done to my girls? It all hurts so bad. I just yesterday was able to cry for the first time since Konstance had her spinal tap. It's so hard! I worry about giving one too much attention and while I am giving one attention, I feel sorry for the other. I feel like I can't say how I feel because I don't want God to think that I am complaining, because I love the girls so much, but I get so exhausted and sad that it overwhelms me and I feel if I complain that God will take them away from me. They cry a lot and intimacy is almost non-existent with Keith because of this. That has been the hardest, not being able to talk and hold each other. I know that this stage will be over soon, but it gets so difficult to cope sometimes.

Twins at 6 monthsAARRGGHH!! I'll be glad when they'll smile so I can feel like they can actually hear me. I just feel so empty and traumatized and what about? Here I have two beautiful, wonderful children, but yet I complain! I'm SO sorry God that you have to deal with me and my stupid complaints! I feel so unappreciative! Please give me the strength to be a better mom.

July 27, 2001

It's been over two years since the last time I wrote in the journal, and I have been VERY busy! That first year of the twins' life was very stressful and difficult. While there were good times, the hard times outweighed them. The first four months of the girls' life were spent with me and my husband dealing with their colic from 10 pm until 1am every night. Finally, a relative mentioned taking them to a chiropractor to see if it would help the them with their non-stop crying. We apprehensively went, and it actually helped with the colic and we got a good night's rest that very night. The twins were still very moody that first year, and I was completely exhausted most of the time. Around the time that the twins turned one, the clouds seemed to lift and things started not being as complicated as they had been.

Twins 1st birthday
The twins at their first birthday

They are now wonderful little 2 1/2 year olds (soon to be three in January 2002) that are absolutely a delight in our lives. They spend most of their time playing with their four year old brother, Keith-Michael, or "Boy" as they call him. They are a challenge once in awhile, but it comes with the age (I think). It seems that when one is being 'good', the other is being rambunctious, but, with their "Papa's" help, we do pretty well. We also have a great pediatrician that also has twins, and she always answers our questions and reassures us that we are doing a great job. The girls are also getting quite a vocabulary, and it's amazing to see what strides they have made since they were born. They have beautiful blonde hair and gorgeous smiles and they love to hug. I thank God for sending them to me and I absolutely love being their mother, even though there were a lot of sleepless nights and days that I never thought that I would make it. I know that there are hard times ahead as they grow more independent, but I know that the Lord doesn't give us more than we can handle and so I know that whatever happens, we will all make it with our love intact!

meeting their new sibling

As of two weeks ago, the girls and their brother have a new addition in their family. Yep, my hubby and I had a baby girl in July 2001 and it's amazing how accepting the kids have all been of her. We named her Eliana and she wasn't premature and she didn't have to spend any time in the NICU. We experienced a lot of pain with having the twins in the NICU, but I feel that it has made us a LOT more sensitive to other people's pain and I am more than willing to talk to other people about their experiences.

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