Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm Deflating

I feel good. I feel tired (very, very tired), but good. My body is healing as it should. I have no pain at my incision, thank heavens. I was told that stairs would be off limits for 3 weeks after the c-section. We've just skipped that piece of information. My doc told me that I could drive as long as I wasn't full of pain meds. I only took one that first night home from the hospital to help me sleep. They don't make me feel loopy or anything, just sleepy. Sleepy is awesome. I've been driving to doctor visits for the girls and making grocery runs for our tummies and delivering Hugo to and from nursery school and oh yeah, I made that exciting run up to the hospital to bring the girls home all by myself. So, I'm driving, climbing stairs, walking, picking up toys off the floor, managing some cooking... and nursing. I'm also pumping. I nurse, bottle feed and pump, then change diapers and watch as the girls fall into their milk comas.

These recovery milestones are all made possible by my Mother's presence here in our home. As I pass out on the couch or collapse in a heap on our bed, my Mom silently sweeps up the mess around me and quietly attends to the girls, changing their bottoms and filling their bellies with milk. Hugo isn't so sure of Grandma Kris. He is still eying her with suspicion. But not our girls. I think Marlo is especially taken with Grandma. After inhaling her bottle, Marlo snuggles into my mother's shoulder while she is being burped and eased into sleep.

p.s. - these are some of my old jeans!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Twinkle Star

Here Hugo sits, holding his sister Marlo. Hugo sings and sings to the girls as he sits in the glider and sways his feet back and forth to the tune of his little song. So sweet this scene is to me, that my heart melts each time. He loves to fetch shooshas and wants to help with his sisters all the time. He pulls his rooster stool up next to the changing table to peer over the edge of the pad so that he can watch as I wash and dress the girls. Hugo loves to hold, bounce and smooch on his new sisters. He is an awesome big brother! We are all very blessed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Girls Are Home!

This morning after breakfast I dialed up the NICU nursery to speak with the girls nurse about their night. Something always happens during the night. Sometimes it's progress in the right direction and sometimes one gal or the other has a set back. The nurse watching over our girls was out for breakfast, I was asked to call back in a half hour. The morning was busy getting my Mom settled and showing her this and that around the house. She hasn't been here to visit us in New York since Hugo was born so we've a few changes about the house to share with her. We made a grocery list of diapers and Balmex, long sleeved onsies, 40 watt bulbs, an extension cord and food to eat for the week to come. Our fridge was just about cleaned out, but not our deep freeze. My Mother-in-law Carolina came to help me out the week before the girls arrival. She offered to make some risois for our lunch one afternoon. I quickly handed her a giant tupperware container and begged her to fill it to the top for me! So, we may have an empty fridge, but we have lots of yummy risois in the freezer!

We were all bundled up ready to climb into the van when I remembered I hadn't called the nursery back. I put our trip on hold for two minutes to place a quick call. I did want to check on the girls status but also wanted to let the nurses know I was planning to drive up, stay through the evening and was bringing milk for the girls. On the phone I was told that the girls had a great night and... were my car seats ready? "Were they ready?!" I replied. "I've only been driving a van, bursting with car seats, around town for weeks now!" I could hardly believe my ears. Our girls might be coming home with me.

Sunday night my Mom flew in to begin her baby visit with us, she plans on staying a month to six weeks here at the house. We drove to the hospital so I could nurse and she could meet her newest granddaughters. They wont be the newest for long, my sister Lizzie is due with her second child in June. So Sunday night the nurses had guessed, based on the girls progress that day, that Marlo might possibly be ready to come home with us sometime Tuesday, most likely on Wednesday. Little Miss Sabine, they just didn't know about and really didn't want to predict. She had her heat turned off for the second time shortly before we arrived which was good news, but her progress has been so unpredictable thus far. We were told to assume and prepare ourselves for the girls coming home one at a time, not together.

Did I have car seats? Such a funny question to ask a pregnant woman on baby nesting hormone overdrive.

Miss Sabine Luvenia

Miss Marlo Amalia

Hugo and Marlo

Driving up to the hospital our family doctor's office called to confirm appointments for both girls for this coming Wednesday in the afternoon. Was this okay with me? It's awesome I told them! Then I paused and asked if I had heard correctly, was the appointment for one or two babies? Two babies was their answer. I still couldn't believe that they were both coming home. Even though I was smiling from ear to ear, I knew I wouldn't fully believe that I'd have both girls coming home with me until we pulled out of the parking garage.

It was all true. Both Marlo and Sabine were discharged into my full time care. I was excited and scared at the thought of their being released to me. Maintaining their nutrition while increasing my milk supply and watching for signs of trouble in the girls was all a tiny bit overwhelming in the news department. I kept asking for charts or lists or some sort of print out I could tack up in the nursery to follow and consult. The nurse, nutritionist and lactation consultant all just looked at me funny and laughed at my nervousness. I can't be the first mom to want a little hand holding as I depart the hospital for the real mom world with preemies.

I called my Mom to tell her that I had girls in the van! She wanted to know how many. Mom had been hoping that they would come home one at a time so we could ease into the preemie business. Not our girls style though. I listened to their coos and sighs all the way home with my smile still spread from ear to ear.

Hugo was very, very excited. He could not wait to hold one of the babies on his lap.


Marlo, Sabine and Hugo

I wondered if he would get any sleep at all that first night with the girls in the house. Mom and I both had our eyes and ears on the door to the nursery keeping up Hugo patrol. We were worried that either he or Evie the cat would climb into their crib for the night. I found his happiness with the girls arrival home to be wonderful. They seem to respond to his voice as much as they do to my own. Good friends reunited at last.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Girls Are Out!

This past Tuesday, November 3rd, the girls were born at 11:55 & 11:58 am via a c-section. Cesar wasn't too sure he wanted to be in the delivery/operating room with me. It has been a teeny weeny source of contention between us. Driving up to the hospital that morning Cesar asked, "So what's happening with the delivery?" Translation: May I be off the hook for that portion of the day? Pretty Please!? My answer, "We've already discussed this." The van was silent for a few clicks down the highway.

I had been pretty calm the week before the section, knowing that I was soon to be cut open. But, but, but... once in that cold OR, I kinda freaked. I did make it through the spinal before my meltdown began. It hurt. Then I cried and shook and didn't believe the spinal would work and I'd feel every slice of the knife... Why couldn't they just knock me out? A woman stuck her face in front of mine to keep eye contact with me. She rubbed my arm. She used a pin over and over to prove to me that my body really was numbing up and that I wouldn't feel a thing more than some tugging and possibly pressure. She knew I didn't believe her. She hollered out questions as to why there was a hold up. She knew I was turning into a ticking time bomb stretched out on the table like I was, and might soon blow. I knew I was freaking out. Panic mode was taking over. I began to wonder if Cesar had been right all along, that he shouldn't see me this way. I was about to request that they not bring him into the room when suddenly he appeared, replacing the kind woman. Instantly I felt better. I still cried and I was still frightened but I was so happy to see my husband. He held my hand and looked at me with soft eyes. He tried to crack jokes - they weren't funny. In their own way, they did help. Cesar was there and he was excited and little boy like.

We were told the cutting had begun, they were going in. I did feel tugging and I did feel a whole lot of pressure. My lungs were being squeezed and smooshed like never before. I gasped for breath. Baby A was out and she was screaming. Loud! When I heard her cries I was so, so happy that I hadn't been knocked out. I cried happy tears. More tugging and pulling and soon Baby B was out. I have felt like I already know who is who within my womb for a long while now. I was concerned that the girls wouldn't be pulled out as the Baby A and the Baby B I've come to know these past months. The doc assured me that they were taken out in the order which we were both familiar with. The birth orders do get changed up, whoever pops out first is forever know as Baby A, or the older one. Anyway, my Baby A and Baby B retained their womb identity's after birth. As each daughter of mine was brought over by her nurse my first impression of them was how much they looked like their big brother. Feminine versions of Hugo obviously, but still, I saw so very much of him in their faces, minus his jet black birth hair! Their hair is a light brown color. I couldn't wait to see the girls side by side to take in how much they looked alike, my first impression was - a lot.

And their Papa? He would leave me and check on Baby A and take pictures then come back to my side to fill me in. Once Baby B was out I was left in the dust again as he eagerly went to her side. He came back smiling and told me all about her. He didn't sit. He remained standing and watched the girls being cleaned and weighed in their two isolettes by their NICU teams. Cesar also watched me get stitched up. Silly husband. No cord cutting as he thought he'd like to do after Hugo was born. He simply watched me sewn back together.

Marlo Amalia weighed 4lbs. 11 oz.

Sabine Luvenia weighed 5lbs. 8oz.


My recovery was on the messy and long side. I didn't get to see the girls until 10ish that night.



The view out my hospital room window late one afternoon. I heard the helicopter buzzing past a lot. It was a happy/sad sound. It made me think of how lucky Cesar and I are. How all the pregnancy drama is mostly over and we will hopefully soon have concrete answers as to what is happening physically with our girls. They look so, so healthy. Neither of them needed oxygen after birth. They were in two different nurseries, up one floor from me, in the NICU. Their isolettes were open to the air when I first saw them. Marlo still hadn't been fully bathed and she was messsssy. She wanted to sleep. They didn't want to disturb her because she needed the rest from the trauma of birth so, no real bath for Miss Marlo until day 2.


Marlo has surprised us all. She was the babe who was the cause of concern within my tummy. She is positive for the blood antibody. They went back and forth on whether to transfuse her or not, for days. Finally, the decision was made that she is doing well and does not need a transfusion. I'll believe it wont happen once we finally have her home with us. She may have to go under some photo therapy treatment but other wise is doing great. She is a total pig with her bottles. She is allowed as much nursing and formula as she'll take. Her body hasn't completely gotten the rhythm of maintaining its body temperature so she is under minimal heat in her isolette.

A nurse explained to me yesterday that the smaller babies, who are considered to be stressed within the womb, usually find the outside world much less stressful and will thrive. Where as, the larger babies are obviously content with life in the womb and find their new outside digs to be more stressful and have a slower go with their new environment. This is the pattern which our two girls have fallen into.


Miss Sabine is chubby and sassy. She kicks her legs about and swings her arms all over! She loves to make eye contact with you. Cesar has nicknamed her the grumpy one and Marlo the angel baby, we'll see if these nick names stick. I like Sabine's chubby cheeked, toad like stare! The nurses nicknamed her the Gerber baby.

Health wise, Sabine is strong and just fine. She was born with a large, dark birthmark on the outside of her left leg near her knee. We don't know if it will lighten or grow or change at all. Her main trouble is that she has become lazy with her bottles. The nurses say that her body can't decide whether to put their energy into keeping her warm, or sucking down her milk. For this reason she was put back under heat and a feeding tube was placed in her nose down to her stomach. The docs have gone back and forth with her progress. Telling me in the evening that the following day she'd be released to the term nursery only to discover during my morning visit that she was still in Nursery 5. Her sister was moved from Nursery 4 to Nursery 6 on Thursday, it's a step down unit. Good girl Marlo! I couldn't wait for Sabine to join her. It has been strange for me having them in different nurseries on different feed schedules with different issues and different docs. Trying to care for myself at the same time has been tiring. I need rest, to eat, to walk, to rest, to pump, to drink lots of fluids and to smooch, hold, feed, learn about and love on our girls. All is happy but my emotions are right, right there under the surface waiting to expose myself and how tired and scared I really am.

Angel Baby Marlo

I did have two meltdowns. The first happened in the hallway near my room one fabulous afternoon. I was asked to take a wheelchair on my next visit up to see the girls. The nurses were afraid I was physically over doing it and would pay the next day. The wheelchair is frustrating because I have to buzz for a nurse and request a chair and then, someone has to push me up to the 7th floor. Kinda embarrassing. I am an obedient girl though, so I did as I was asked. A nurse went in search of a chair for me, she was gone a long time. I sat on my bed and waited. I stood at the door and peeped outside through a crack as I waited. Finally I stood around in the hallway looking this way and that for her return. Once she appeared with a chair I sat my fanny down and suddenly another nurse, who I haven't seen before, busted out a doorway down the hall and demanded I give up my chair for her patient whose taxi was waiting downstairs. So, I thought. Why couldn't that nurse find her patient her own chair? The discussion was flying about my head. I kept starring at the clock watching the countdown to my daughter's nursing window pass me by. More nurses arrived hearing the scuttle happening in the hall. I couldn't understand what the big deal was. I was simply doing what I had been asked to do and I just wanted to be wheeled upstairs so I could feed my girl. A nurse made eye contact with me at one point and my eyes sprung a leak, a leak like Niagra Falls. It was awful. It just wouldn't stop. I did win the chair though. In the end, the patient wanted to walk. We bumped into her at the elevator, her and that nasty nurse. Once upstairs, I did get to feed Sabine. And I did cry off and on for the rest of the day over the smallest of things. My nurse was sent to check me out for a psyche evaluation. All I could think was that I had just experienced an early c-section with twins who are up in the NICU people! I should be allowed to be hormonal and emotional and cry if I want too! For awhile even!

The second cry fest happened on Friday afternoon. I walked into Nursery 6 for Marlo's feeding time. Her nurse was finishing up with her vital signs so I remained standing and glanced about the room at Marlo's neighbors. I noticed that the isolette across from her had one of my flannel blankets on it. We are welcome to bring clothing, blankets, hats and a single, small toy of our own for our children to wear and possibly look at. The nurseries have lots of clothes, hats and blankets which they supply for children whose parents were surprised by their arrival or for whatever reason, don't have anything of their own in the hospital. Church groups and families have been very generous with their donations for these teeny tiny babes. The items are all adorable and beautifully made, I've enjoyed looking at all the knitted and quilted items. I have to mention that the girls hats I knitted were the talk of the entire NICU floor. Once life at home settles, I have a goal of knitting a bunch of the heart hats up for donation. Back to the cry fest... So, I saw the blanket and thought fine, no big deal, I'll mention it later to her nurse. Looked back at Marlo, the nurse was still doing her thing. Looked around the room again and my eyes settle on the isolette across from Marlo. Wasn't that one of my gray hats up on top of my flannel blanket covering the isolette lid? Does Marlo have her hat on? I bent down and looked at her. Yup, gray hat was covering up her head. What does that mean? How did the 2nd gray hat get in here? It should be in Nursery 5 with chubby cheeked Miss Sabine. I walked over to the isolette in question and peeped inside. My eyes widened with surprise at the realization that this was baby! That's Sabine in there! Wouldn't you think the nurses would have told me the good news once I entered the nursery???? Don't get me wrong about the nurses. One nurse is nicer than the next in this hospital, I've been very impressed and grateful for myself and the girls. Except for that nasty, wheelchair highjacking nurse. I still don't like her. Back on subject though. I saw our Sabine and it was happy Niagra Falls tear time all over again for me. Our girls were near each other. Finally, finally, finally. So strange having them apart like they had been the past few days. Days which really felt like weeks for me.

Chubby cheeked Sabine in her heart hat.


Sabine in a donated outfit.

View out the windows in the nurses lounge. I spied the glorious sunshine lighting up the trees and buildings while walking back to my room, which is right next door but does not have this view, on Friday. I asked permission to enter and took some photos. The light and early winter sky hit me in a breath taking sort of way. I could have sat their and enjoyed it for a long, long while, but I didn't. I was a good girl and went to my room for a nap before dinner. I've been told by friends that it has been a cold week outside. I've been in hospital twilight zone as far as weather or television news is concerned. Focused on healing and being close by with our babies as much as possible.

Cesar and Miss Marlo

This was taken Saturday afternoon. Discharge day for me and only me. I nursed and bottle fed both girls. Sabine didn't take very much by bottle, the rest was given through her feeding tube. I held her as she slept wrapped up snug in her blanket and received her milk. The girls are both good burpers and thank heavens for that because Hugo was horrible at burping. He preferred to barf all over me and anyone else near by. The girls both smile all the time. It may just be gas, as I'm sure my Mother will tell me it is, but I'm taking these first smiles as a sign that they recognize our voices and are happy to be a family of 5.

Marlo is eating while Sabine sleeps away behind her.

Miss Marlo

Papa and Marlo


Proud Papa Cesar wore his hospital bracelets with pride to work all week long.

Sabine is to the left and Marlo is on the right.

Papa and Sabine

Monday, November 2, 2009

34 Weeks -The End, The Beginning

The time has come the walrus said, to talk of many things - Lewis Carroll

Like, my babies are coming out tomorrow! How strange this feeling is that I know their birth date already. I realize women have scheduled c-sections all the time, I'm just not one of those women. So think of me at 11:30 am. I'll have a funny bonnet on my head. I'll be trying my darndest to keep my loving husband from passing out beside me. A nurse has already pleaded with him to keep it together, I guess there is a whole lot of paperwork involved if he hits the floor. I'll also be anxiously listening for the first cries of my babes as they are pulled from my belly. My belly might be great and bulbous now, but by lunch time tomorrow it will be a deflated balloon. Very, very strange.

I can't wait to take full, deep breaths again with ease and little thought. I can't wait to sleep on my back. I look forward to one day soon sleeping on my tummy, once the boobs have adjusted to their nursing responsibilities that is. I look forward to snuggling up close behind my husband in bed. I look forward to Hugo sitting upon my lap once more, and not clinging desperately to my arms for fear of falling off. I even look forward to washing the dishes with my torso not forced to swing to the extreme left or right as I lean into the sink. I can't wait to apply my mascara in front of the mirror and actually be able to see my lashes. Think I'm crazy? You try it. Stand back a full foot from your bathroom basin and try to apply your mascara. Come on, do it! Laugh along with me!

I realize I haven't explained what all happened with the PUBS test that was performed last Tuesday. The day was crazy and hectic. The verdict for the quick c-section was on, then off, then on, then off again. It was emotional and confusing. The docs still find our girls to be quite the puzzle. In the end, they determined that they could and should stay within the womb for one more week. 34 weeks gestation is supposed to hold some important mile markers for the babes. So, we called nearly everyone we knew and said, "The girls are coming out!". Then we had to call nearly everyone we know and say, "All is off. One more week to go. Scheduled section for Tuesday November 3rd." The girls and I were monitored for stress and contractions for a few hours and then I dressed and we drove home.

Around 9:30 PM, Baby B was being completely naughty and was pushing her entire backside out the right side of my abdomen. It hurt. I told her to knock it off. She didn't listen. Baby A is so good and nice to me.

10:30 PM, Cesar and I hit the sheets. It had been a long day and he needed to leave for work early, early in the morning. Baby B took no pity on me. I'd sleep and then she'd wake me doing her strange stretching routine. Back to sleep I went. Sometimes, I got up and tinkled hoping she'd change position. About 12:30 AM Baby B was up to her tricks again while I was still in the midst of dream world. So I was experiencing this pain in my belly and suddenly in the midst of my dream my sister Millie appears and she looks straight at me and says, "Wake up ya big dummy, those are contractions!" My eyes opened immediately! and I knew she was right. Baby B was not being a naughty girl, I had simply been contracting since 9:30 that night. Uh oh. I grabbed my phone and walked into the nursery where I could turn on the light and not disturb Cesar's sleep. I dialed up Millie to tell her about how silly I am and how she had come to me in my dream as only a sister can. Her husband Trent (he's a doc) told me that I should write down the time of the contractions and if they increased to 10 minutes apart that I should call my doc. I live an hour from the hospital...

Long story short, I called my baby doc around 4ish. We barely made it to the hospital in one piece. My husband kept his cool on the highway. Once in the City, all bets were off. Nary a red light would hold him back. We skidded around corners. We got stuck behind a super slow car at one point and C majorly passed him up. We totally caught air with the van at one point, which was killer for the bulbous tummy by the way. That slowed him down a bit. Shocked him enough to drive somewhat sane. My contractions were coming 3-5 minutes apart at this point. I was breathing pretty heavy. So was Cesar.

He drove up in front of the hospital main doors and ordered me inside. The place was deserted. He found a wheel chair and ordered me to sit in it. I tried to protest. I said the walking would be good for me. I was again ordered to sit. Me takey no prisoners woman! I sat. Cesar began to run. As the corners quickly approached I braced myself for impact. I thought we'd either slam into someone around the corner or completely wipe out. I wasn't sure which would be worse. I tried to play out different scenes in my head. We didn't wipe out though. Expert emergency wheelchair operator my stressed out husband is I discovered. He wheeled me into the elevator, all stressed out as he was he couldn't remember the right floor number. I smiled. He wheeled me to the check-in counter, they have a special place for us wheelchair forced women to sign consents and receive our bracelets. Cesar wanted a bracelet. He was told he'd have to wait until it was determined if I were in true labor or not. His lip stuck out a bit. He wheeled me through the big security doors and down the hallways to my assigned room. As we passed the nurses station he joked, "Got the hot water ready?!" He was met with blank, blank stares. I sunk a bit down into my wheelchair seat. In our room I asked quietly for no more jokes as the nurse prepared the bed for me. My husband pulled up the chair/bed and passed out in mere seconds. He'd completed his duty. We were safely in a room in the hospital. The nurses and docs marveled at his ability to, and the deepness of, his sleep. I just smiled.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Days Till Babies

I woke this morning dreaming of sesame chicken. Just terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

Carolina made waffles for our breakfast with delicious strawberries and raspberries. After breakfast I was a good girl and moved right onto some sewing projects that needed finishing before the girls arrival home. Hugo watched cartoons on Poppa's new giant flat screen. It's kinda strange watching Sponge Bob in theater mode. I ran out of sewing thread so up the stairs I went. Once at the top of the stairs, I could no longer remember why I had climbed the stairs. I decided to take a shower. So I showered and layered my body with sweet smelling bath oil, wound up my hair, wrapped my hippo momma body in Cesar's generous, terry cloth robe and walked to our room to dress. Oh, I should pause here to further form a more accurate picture of what was going on, Hugo had joined me, talking full speed ahead, just as I was about to turn the water off in the shower. He was still following. I looked down at him. My eyes could see him, but my ears did not hear a single, solitary word uttered from his sweet mouth. It was kinda sorta... lovely. Like I had my very own mute button for one brief moment. I was sleepy and I think the clock read that it was only 11 am. I thought I'd curl up a minute on top of the covers and let the body oil heat up and do its moisturizing business. Hugo decided that we were playing a cuddling game of closing our eyes and then quickly peeking at each other. It was peaceful, quiet, warm and a fun game. Evie the cat lounged along with us. At some point, the peeking game was over for me and I was fast asleep. I dreamed about sesame chicken.

I woke and dressed and marched down the stairs to announce that I was going to order some sesame chicken and were there any other takers? No. No one paid attention to me. No one was even interested in joining me for a ride to the other end of town and back to fulfill my quest to squelch this nagging focus on food. I was on my own, but was not deterred. Sesame chicken was soon to fill my belly.

Once home I devoured the sticky sweet stuff. Through a stuffed mouth I did pause long enough to ask if anyone would like to share? Hugo was up in a chair beside me in a flash. He loves the sesame soaked broccoli best. At the end of our meal I passed out one fortune cookie to Hugo and one for myself. My fortune read something about patience being a virtue - blah, blah, blah. I've heard that one before and I do think I'm a pretty patient person thank you. Hugo cracked open his fortune cookie and handed me his slip of paper begging to know what it said, so cute! "What's it say Momma, what the words say?" The above photo is of Hugo's fortune.

"You will be reunited with old friends."

Wow. Old friends. Hugo is pretty little still and has had only one friend, Miss Krystal, move away. I believe his fortune, these "old friends", is talking about his sisters to be, who are scheduled to enter this world on Tuesday. How beautiful to think that Hugo and his sisters are already friends. That they have known each other, played with each other and have enjoyed each others company long before this earth was formed. That they have been parted during his short years here on earth but have possibly had this secret between the three of them, knowing that they would be reunited with one another in the form of an eternal family. Through the veil of birth in which Hugo passed through as all babies do, he has forgotten them. Hmmm, has he forgotten them truly? I am remembering his early prediction of two babies in my tummy. I wonder if during this countdown to the girls birth they know him and are eager to see him once more. That they have been keeping tabs on Hugo along with Cesar & I, and are eager to join this little family of ours. I really shouldn't have purchased my take-out on a Sunday, but I can't help but feel that this fortune cookie was especially meant for us. For our soon to be family of five.