Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fun with the Camera

We had some fun photographing the girls today. Click on the picture to see our slideshow:

Elisa is the wild one in polka-dots, and Amanda is asleep in the blanket.

In the next slideshow, we put the babies together on my lap for the first time (hard because of all their tubes and wires) and what do you know: they held hands!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Pictures

The girls are still in the NICU, but today Elisa and Amanda topped 4 and 5 pounds, respectively. They are doing very well for their tiny sizes. They still have feeding tubes that go into their noses and down into their bellies -- but these are just for getting the formula down into them when they've gotten too sleepy to bottle feed any more. They are still connected with three wires to a machine that measures their heart rate, breathing rate, and amount of oxygen in their blood (whether they're breathing deeply or shallowly). But all their systems are working perfectly and they are healthy and happy little babies. When they gain enough weight to keep up their temperature on their own, and when they can eat all the formula they need without using the feeding tube, they will be able to come home. We estimate that to be in the second week of February.

In the meantime, I am resting at home most of the time. James and I go to the hospital between two and three times a day to help feed them, change their diapers, and coo at them. James has told them all they need to know (and more) about the inauguration and our system of government, football and the lead-up to the Super Bowl, and our families. I have sung them more songs than I remembered that I knew. James and I both are so in love with the girls that we are almost intolerable to others. It's hard to talk about anything other than our daughters. And we tend to repeat ourselves: "They're just so cute." "Can you believe how beautiful they are?"

I have much more to say on the subject, but less stamina than that would require. Suffice it to say that we are very, very happy. When I held both girls in my arms at once last night, for the first time, I told James that I would have paid $50,000 for that one evening. And to think we have them forever.

This is all I ever wanted.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Family Resemblance

Me (on left) and my twin bro at 2 weeks:

Elisa at about 2 days:

James as a newborn:

Amanda at 2 days:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby Pictures

Hello, my friends,
We're finally back from the hospital, though we didn't get to bring the babies with us just yet. They'll stay in the neonatal intensive care unit a few more weeks, just to put a few more pounds on them and to get their little bodily processes a little stronger.

In the meantime, we have some pictures for you now.
These are Amanda Panda (baby A):
and Elisa Bear (baby B):
and a very very happy nuclear family

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Babies are Here!

This is the 100th blog post, and it happens to be the best. James and I are now a healthy, happy family of four with our two daughters. Everybody is doing really well.

We had the babies early Wednesday morning: 4:55 and 4:46 a.m. on January 14, 2009. Their names are Amanda June and Elisa Katherine (that's Baby A and Baby B, respectively). Their weights were somewhere around 4 lbs. 12 oz. and 3 lbs. 13 oz., but they were both within a quarter inch of 18 inches long. So we have one little skinny tall one and one bulkier skinny tall one. They were born at 33 weeks -- seven weeks ahead of what would have been full term, and three weeks ahead of what we were expecting as average for twins.

The girls are beautiful. They are expected to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for a few weeks as their premie bodies stabilize, but so far they are going gangbusters -- breathing and eating on their own. Amanda has dark hair and looks like James and Elisa has blonde hair and has my hands. Their cries sound like little sheep bleating. We have gotten to bottle feed them a couple times and I've spent some skin-on-skin time with each little one. I can't wait to rip those wires and tubes out and just snuggle up with them forever and ever.

The birth came along unexpectedly by C-section after my Tuesday afternoon doctor's appointment. Routine tests determined that I had preeclampsia, a dangerous disease caused by pregnancy that affects liver function. I was instructed to leave my doctor's office and march over to the labor and delivery unit and check myself in. So that is what I did. And the rest is history. I'll leave the scary emergency C-section anaesthesia and blood loss stories for those of you who really want to hear them. The upshot is that by the next morning, I was highly drugged, very sleepy, and a mom. I'm doing much, much better now.

James has been a trooper throughout, taking care of me and the babies in every way imaginable. I love him more than I ever thought possible, and I love how enamored he is of his daughters. We made a lot of extra love for the world this week. It feels fantastic to be in the middle of it.

Since we showed up at the hospital unexpectedly a few days ago, we weren't prepared with things like the cables that would download our pictures from camera to computer. So you'll have to wait for the photos. But we'll get them out as soon as we can. In the meantime, trust us: these little babies are the sun and the moon and the stars. They are love incarnate, and they are beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Adding to the Pantheon

It took me 26 years to be cool enough to have a real boyfriend. I passed the time between birth and that point engaging in cultural and intellectual pursuits. It was the next best thing. By the time I got to graduate school I had formed my own Pantheon: a group of people living and dead that I considered godly. It contained such characters as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and J.S. Bach. They were people who had such talent, and had mastered their genres so well, that the results they produced were almost spiritual.

Today I add one more member to my Pantheon: Pepcid AC. Yes, that's it: the heartburn medicine.

In the last three days it has changed my life immeasurably. All the entries that you haven't been seeing on my blog in the last months -- because I haven't written them -- have been about the physical pain and discomfort of pregnancy. You can't say that I didn't ask for it, beg for it. So I have mixed feelings about dwelling on my absolute state of disability.

But the heartburn was going to kill me. I knew it. The doctor said it would put hair on my babies' chests. Just what we wanted for our girls. I went through 100-count bottles of TUMS and Rolaids (which only spelled T-E-M-P-O-R-A-R-Y-R-E-L-I-E-F) like Halloween candy. But every single time I hiccupped, rolled over in bed, sat up, sat down, walked any where, said anything, or God forbid ate anything, it would light the fire in my chest and throat. Last week I even used my Lamaze breathing methods to "breathe through the pain" of it.

And then my doctor said I could use Pepcid AC too. Once a day, over the counter. I selected the E Z Chews.

Immediately the sun began to shine. The birdies chirped. I felt like skipping through the clear winter air. I felt like like rolling over in bed, hiccupping, eating spicy and acidic foods... Baroque harmonies swirled around Colombian magic realism in my brain.

The day of my liberation was Tuesday. Today is Friday*. I'm a new woman.

All hail Pepcid AC.

*(It has been pointed out to me that today is Thursday. Just FYI.)