Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One...amazing...month

First of all. I am profoundly sorry for the "drop off the face of the planet after my babies were born" act that happened. But hopefully I can make a nice long update now and all will be forgiven.

The first few days after Britton and Casey were born are a complete blur. The NICU is very overwhelming. Learning the ins and outs and schedules of the babies feeds and assessments and knowing when the doctors would be there for rounds...it took a lot of getting used to.

On top of that, Trevor and I tried to continue working on a limited basis during the NICU stay in order to push back our leave. What I didn't want was to come home from Texas and have a month to stay home with them. No. Thank. You. So we frequently had our computers with us at their bedside to stay on top of work. That meant, when I wasn't working, and not holding one of our precious little miracles and not doing laundry and running around to get food...writing blog posts seem to slip down my to-do list.

We stayed at Driscoll Children's Hospital for a total of 26 days. Britton was released after 23 days, Casey followed 3 days later. They were on the critical NICU floor for 8 days. The remaining days were in a private room on the NICU continued care floor considered just "feeders and growers". I know many of you have had NICU experiences. Those experiences seem to range from good, bad and scary. We feel incredibly fortunate that our experience was a compete blessing. There was never anything scary or stressful. The doctors and the staff were nothing short of phenomenal. And they simply loved our story. Every single staff member with the hospital knew our story without us sharing it and made sure to talk to us about it. We also were fortunate that the boys constantly were on the upward trend. The are little fighters and just wanted to go home as much as we did. So we never had those moments of major concern or worry. They just really did do that well. So yes. I feel extremely blessed.

We did our best to be a part and active in the majority of the "assessments and feeds" that occurred every 3 hours. The only ones we missed were typically the 2 am and 5 am. They encouraged us to get rest, so typically our day began around 7 when we woke up and ended when we tucked them in after their 11 pm feed. We would go out for lunch and dinner to get out of the hospital. Yes...we gained probably 10-20 pounds while gone and eating out that much. Well...I know for sure I did. Oopsie.  We also tried to see Kelly and her family when we could.

Britton was definitely the overachiever. And as Baby B, we were told that's rare. Typically Baby A is a bit ahead. But Britton was off and running from day one. Off oxygen after only a few days, great respirations and taking full bottles a week before his brother. Which is why he was released a few days ahead. However, once we got that release date, I'm pretty sure a lightbulb went off in Casey's head as if he said, "wait, don't leave me here"! So he caught up quicker than they thought and ended up only 3 days behind.

That day was last Tuesday. And that was a very bittersweet day. To have both of the boys in our care and knowing we were going home was such an amazing feeling. But leaving the doctors and nurses that had cared so well for them, was hard. And nothing could ever put into words how difficult it was to say goodbye to Kelly and her family. They mean so much to us and always will. I only wish we lived closer. She's given us the most beautiful, amazing and perfect gift. We are so in love with these little guys...I knew we would be, but nothing prepares you for how much.

On Tuesday evening we began our journey home. We left Rockport and drove to Austin. We wanted to start small on the trip and see how everyone did. The next day we had breakfast with our attorney that helped us through the surrogacy and made everything seamless. Was so thrilled to get to meet her in person. Then we drove 3 hours to Dallas. We had family and friends there that we wanted to see and that gave us a full afternoon/evening to spend with all of them. And...guess who was gracious enough to open her home to us!?! Caroline and her husband, Colby were so kind and I loved getting to know them even more than I felt like I already do through her blog. And yes, she is just as sweet in person as you would imagine she is!



The next morning we got up super early and drove to Rogers, Arkansas. Trevor's 94 year old grandfather lives there and we thought it important that he meet his grandsons. We don't get there that often and he can't travel. It was such a great day. Definitely a highlight. On Friday we again left early knowing we were 8.5 hours from home. That does not include the time to stop for feedings. We thought we'd just drive and see how they do. Well, they did great and we made it home by 8 pm! My good friends had had our home cleaned and our fridge and pantry stocked. What a perfect gift after being gone for 32 days! Our cats didn't even blink and eye (well, barely) at the fact that we brought home two tiny humans. I think we could have brought a pack of 70 pound dogs home and they wouldn't have cared as long as it meant we were home and home to stay!

The great thing is, these boys are GREAT babies. We've been able to stay on the NICU schedule that they were on, we typically wake them for their feeds and aren't huge criers. I know this may all change, and probably will from time to time, but for a 4 day road trip and our first few days home, their parents have been eternally grateful to them!

As for an update on me, yesterday I was 20 weeks. So Britton and Casey's little sister is cruising right along. I had an OB appointment in Texas a few weeks ago with an u/s and she looks great!

My heart can barely stand it. I still can't believe how much life has changed in a year's time, but I know I am thankful beyond words for all of my miracles.

I'll leave this post for now with lots and lots of pictures. Told you I'd make the delay worth it!
(Sorry for any typos...I literally typed this with a baby on my chest)

Only a few days old

You know, Casey just hanging out in the NICU

Meet our funny guy, Britton

Britton milk drunk

Kelly's first time holding Britton and Casey

Britton and Casey

Related?

My favorite moments are cuddling with these two

Double kangaroo care

Our very first family photo

Kelly holding both babies

Kelly's oldest daughter, Sydnee

Kelly's middle daughter, Ella

Kelly's youngest children, Taylor and Nicholas

Trevor finally holding both babies

Britton "home" with us

 Just waiting on this guy

 Their first photo together out of the hospital

How we slept on the road home...Trevor and I each got about a foot on each side

First time in their beds at home

First nap time together

Nap time fun at home

More nap time 

And more naps side-by-side

On Sunday, August 16th, we were a month old!! 

I promise, I will not be away for so long again!!! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I'm their mom...and it's so amazing.

So much to say. SO much to update. For those that don't know...my boys arrived just after midnight on Thursday morning at exactly 33 weeks.

Casey Harrison arrived at 12:14 am on July 16th weighing 3 pounds 12 ounces and 15 3/4 inches long. 

Britton Michael arrived at 12:16 am on July 16th weighing 3 pounds 15 ounces and 17 3/4 inches long. 

On Wednesday evening Kelly and I were completely packed up and ready to leave the hospital when the doctor returned and said he was concerned that her last 2 BP readings were borderline. He no longer felt comfortable with her going home for the night. I unpacked us, got us some dinner, and started to settle in for the evening. Then Kelly had some vision spots. Dr. B had asked me if this happened to text him. I did so and within minutes he was in our room. We talked for a bit, but decided with her high protein levels, the BP rising and now vision changes, the best thing we could do was to deliver the babies. Unfortunately both babies were transverse which mean we had to go in via c-section. We called the husbands and told them to start heading to the hospital. Babies were coming. 

Earlier in the evening the doctor had tried to transfer Kelly to the hospital with the Level 3 NICU, however they wouldn't take her because they had no beds. So Kelly needed to deliver where she was with her OB. That meant NICU teams had to be assembled and sent from the Children's Hospital for each baby. Within a few hours, Kelly was on her Magnesium and all the teams were in place. We were so blessed by the wonderful doctors and staff that Kelly's husband, Trevor and myself were all able to be in the operating room. We saw and HEARD our babies as they entered this world. There are no words for me to describe that moment. 

They came out little, but loud! My little fighters. People say girls fight harder, but I've been told my boys are proving that wrong. I love that. 

Britton (Baby B) was struggling just a hair more than Casey (Baby A) with his breathing. Therefore, he was given the VIP treatment and was flown via helicopter to Children's. Casey was transferred via ambulance. It thrilled me that the NICU teams took the time to take each baby into Kelly's room for her to see before they were transferred. Once I knew Kelly was okay, Trevor and I (and T's brother) headed to the hospital to see our boys. By 4:30 am, both boys were in their little homes for the next little bit and stable. We were given a family room to lay down and rest. At this point, I was running on so much adrenaline there was no way I was going to sleep. I just tried my best to let my body relax for a bit before joining the boys for their first rounds with the doctor. 

We were told they were doing exactly as they should be for 33 weeks. And that is a good thing. Over the past few days, they have flip-flopped just a bit and Britton is actually overachieving on his breathing now. Within the next 24 hours they will begin weaning him completely off oxygen. 

Casey breathes just a little harder and faster, so he's still using a bit more oxygen than his brother. Other than that, he's doing great as well. They just think he needs a little more help for just a bit longer and that's okay. They've began feeds (through tubes, not bottles) and those are going well so far. 

So lots of things have worked out. We were present for the birth. We were able to deliver with our OB. I am beyond grateful for that. We ended up at a Children's Hospital for their care. This is ABSOLUTELY where we should be. I have zero doubt in that. These people here are amazing. Not only that, but we've been given housing for the duration of their stay at the hospital. I literally go up an elevator and walk down the hall to seem my guys anytime I want.

 My only regret is what Kelly has gone through this week. The c-section has not been easy on her and she's still struggling to get her vitals stable. She had to have a couple blood transfusions and it hurts me that she's having to go through all of this for us. She was and is amazing. What she's done...what she's given us...is our whole world. Perfect little boys. Little boys that we are constantly told are some of the loudest of the babies here. 

This whole experience just fills my heart with so much love. Look at what I have now. A family. Trevor and I are so deeply in love with these guys we can barely stand it. I was even able to hold Britton last night and this morning. Trevor was able to hold Casey. Pretty sure it's time to switch! 

I'll try to update again soon. Still so much I want to share about the amazing people and staff that we've been surrounded by this past week. But here are a few pictures for now. 

Visiting Kelly before transport. And Dad's finger.
Only a few hours old

First hold. Best thing ever.

The awesome Dr. Bradford who took such good care of Kelly and our boys.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Moment to Breathe

I'm so sorry for my very brief update that probably left you all with questions and concerns. I've finally had a few minutes of calm to sit down and write out this post.

Here's what's been going on:

On Monday morning, Kelly had her regular OB appointment. Her blood pressure was high at 146/89 and her urine showed signs of protein. Her doctor was immediately concerned and wanted her admitted to the hospital for 24 hour observation and the 24 hour urine test to check her kidney function. They also began the steroid shot treatment for the babies lungs. His suggestion was that Trevor and I head down to Texas as soon as possible.

Our plan all along has been to drive. Obviously knowing that plans can change in an instance. Luckily, I'm a pretty OCD crazy planner kinda freak, and had everything packed in our dining room ready to go for our trip. I booked a flight out of Indianapolis Monday afternoon and arrived in Corpus Christi early evening. Trevor, bless that man, drove. His brother, who is nothing short of my hero, took a flight to Memphis so that he could join Trevor for the majority of the drive so he wouldn't be alone. They arrived yesterday evening.

Since Monday morning, every reading with the exception of the very first one, has been great and totally normal. Blood work showed her liver is doing just fine. The 24 hour urine test however, was pretty horrible And by horrible I mean, anything over 300 is considered bad. Her results were 5400. She also has been having contractions off and on. Sometimes frequent, sometimes not. She's currently dilated to almost 3 cm. That was as of yesterday morning. However, as of yesterday morning, both boys are transverse. So there isn't a lot of concern for her going into labor at this point.

Yesterday after the OB spoke with the MFM we were given 3 options:

1) Go home and then go in on Thursday morning at 8:15 to meet with the MFM doctor.

2) Stay at the current hospital she's being monitored at, however, if things get bad she would have to be transferred to the MFM's hospital that has the Level III NICU.

3) Be transferred now to the MFM's hospital.

Obviously they are giving us these options because they believe these options are all safe. Our big concern is the distance from home to the hospital. It's a solid hour on a good day with no traffic. So IF things got bad quickly with her vitals...are we to far away by her being at home? Her vitals have been great for over 48 hours now. But we can't discount that obviously her kidneys are struggling.

Yesterday, our choice was to stay where we were and be monitored another night. We plan on going home later today and going to the MFM first thing in the morning to see what he thinks. At that time, if it's best she stay at the hospital. We'll do that. However, she could be fine for another week. Where should we spend that week? It's really a tough decision. For everyone.

You always just want to be told what the best thing to do is. Rather than having to make that call. What's the best? What's going to keep her the most calm?

I just want Kelly to be comfortable. I want her safe. And if she's safe, the babies are safe.

I know pre-eclampsia is unfortunately something that a great many of us have had to deal with during pregnancies after infertility. I welcome and hope for any and all thoughts, advise, feedback or guidance. Anything you are willing to offer us.

And just to let you all know...babies are doing great.

I've spent the past few days in the hospital with her trying my best to be helpful to her. I'm so glad we're here. If nothing else to be a supportive role for her and her family until the time comes that these little guys need to come out. We'd love another week or two, but if that's not in the cards, I know that they've been cared for in the best possible way by Kelly. I certainly couldn't have done a better job myself. I know that there are doctors here to help these little guys out in their first few days and weeks. I take a great comfort in all of that.

I also have to give praise to the staff at Christus Spohn Alice. They are simply amazing. The way they've treated me, but especially Kelly moves me to tears. I will be sad if we aren't able to deliver here. We understand why that may not be possible, but we'll lose out on a pretty awesome experience that sometimes medical complications just tend to supersede.

Thank you so much for the continued good thoughts and prayers!



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In Texas

I wish I had time for a long update. But I just don't. So this is going to be quick.

I arrived in Texas last night. Kelly's BP was very high and she had protein in her urine. She was admitted to the hospital and since then her BP has gone down, but her kidney's continue to show not so great results. We will have the 24 our test results shortly.

We were advised to come down to Texas ASAP as the babies could be born within a week. So here we are. Hopefully she'll be released today and we can continue to wait out their arrival and let them cook at little more.

More when I can.

xoxo