Now that I am back at work, I can actually sit down and put fingers to keyboard and type out this huge update on what has happened since my 24 week posting...it has been a crazy roller coaster, but sit back and I will give you the play by play :)
The 24th week of my pregnancy seems like so long ago, and in reality it kind of is long ago. For those of you who may not know, our goal was to make it to 28 weeks after we hit the 24 week milestone. The doctors really did not expect me to go to 28 weeks or much past that if I did make it to that milestone! My blood pressure had remained good, and my cervix was not opening at all every week when I went for my preterm labor prevention appointment. This was a good thing! The babies were looking good on screen, and their sizes and weights were measuring even a little ahead! I seemed to be doing great and they thought "When is she going to have these babies?" We had our Care Conference and the neonatologist and my OB were there to plan out the delivery and what would happen. At that point the neonatologist stated that the babies’ sizes and weights at that time were already positive, and that he felt that any time that they were born after that would be a great outcome. So we went on...week by week went by, and I was getting more tired and miserable, and we were expecting the babies to come any time. Labor never really came. I went to my OB and she said I just scheduled your c-section for Friday the 28th of September at 10:00AM. She said, "I didn't want to schedule it because I feel like I just jinxed us, but the hospital had kept calling, the neonatologists kept calling asking how are your quadruplets doing, and all I could say was she is still pregnant and doing well, and they were like well we need to plan how this will all happen, so we need to pick a day." So she picked a day, and of course as fate would have it...it jinxed us :). On September 16th I started itching like crazy and called the on call Dr. at our OB's office and she said ok go ahead and take some Benadryl, and have the Perinatologists take a look tomorrow and if need be we will see you in the office. I went in Monday morning for my pre-term labor prevention appointment and my nurse said ok you have dialated like 1.25 cm so your cervix is open now, and when she did my pee test she dipped 3+ proteins in my urine. My blood pressure was still doing well, but I had also gained 30lbs in the past 3 weeks, so I might be developing Help Syndrome, which could affect my kidneys and liver, it was basically a sign of pre-eclampsia without it affecting my blood pressure. I had had my baby shower about a week before and my mom measured me and I was 72 inches around my waist...I am only 5'2", so that was crazy. It had become harder and harder to get out of bed or to lay down. I was miserable. I went into the ultrasound room and they were going to have me do a 24hour urine analysis to see if I was becoming pre-eclamptic or getting this Help Syndrome, but when I got into the ultrasound room and they started to look at the babies they could not see the presenting baby(now known as Aeryn) all they could get was her heartbeat. The perinatologist talked it over and said there comes a time when they are better out than in, and I think that time has come because we can't acurately monitor this baby because of all of the edema(swelling) I had on my lower belly. I was still itching. I had been taking 3 shots of insulin a day. They sent me to labor and delivery and said they would do the urine test there and that I would likely deliver within 24-48hours...and my doctor was off for the day!
They monitored me through the night since my doctor was out and she came in the next morning and said "Why is it every time I am off you wind up in the hospital?" It was funny, but so true. She asked me why they were looking to deliver...what was prompting it? We told her they could not monitor the baby and about all the other things and she said ok don't eat anything else...we are doing the c-section at 3:30PM. Start the roller coaster...
The nurses came in and started getting my IV lines set up and I spent some time with Sher and Lizzy for the last times by ourselves before the babies were born. Lizzy was wearing her Big Sister scrubs we had bought her and she was so cute! I just kept praying let me make it through this to see my baby again and let my other babies be ok. They took me back and gave me a spinal and my lower body went completely numb. There were so many people in the delivery room that we had already anticipated as the hospital had to have a team for each baby that had a doc, a nurse and a respiratory therapist. They did not have room in the delivery room for all of them to remain in there, so some were stationed outside to get the babies and check them out in a different room. They all kept saying how well I did to carry them to 33 weeks 2 days, but I just said I just did what my body let me do. In the delivery room was me and Sher and when they were doing the surgery, and taking the babies out I did not hear them cry at first, so I was scared. Baby A was the first one out and she weighed 5lb 4oz, and I did not know it at the time, but she was not breathing when she came out. They had to get her to breathing and she went on the c-pap. Baby B was out next 5lb 1oz and he was doing well, no c-pap needed. Baby C came out and she did not need any c-pap either and weighed 4lb 9 oz. And baby D came out and he had to go on c-pap and weighed 5lbs even. Sher did not know it, but when they were taking out baby C and D I really thought I was about to die...it was scary I think I was getting anxiety, but it literally felt like my entire insides were sitting on my chest and I felt like I could not breathe. The nurse assured me she was looking at my O2 level and I was breathing and getting good oxygen, but something felt wrong with me. I just kept saying I was ok. Sher had to leave me and go with the babies to get their weights and lengths and stuff and said that she had never been in an elevator that went so fast. They had let me at least see all of them before they took them up to the NICU, then sewed and stapled me together and sent me to recovery.
I guess I was in recovery for a few hours, or it seemed that way when they came and wheeled me to my room. I am sure I slept for a long time til they came in to do my vitals and give me my meds, and there were a lot of them too…I had perkoset for pain, Lasix to get the fluid off of me, Lovenox injections to keep me from developing blood clots, some kind of stool softener and something for gas. I wasn’t able to get up til that night and they let me go to the NICU to see the babies with the catheter in and hauling around the IV. They were absolutely beautiful and perfect-all four of them. It was at this time that the boys were named. I can’t explain the first time I held Cade I knew he was Cade-he actually looked in that moment like his Granddad-Sherrie’s dad and Cade was to have his Graddad’s middle name. We knew at that moment that these babies had been kissed by their Graddad in Heaven before they came to us. He had helped to keep them safe until they were ready to be born. We could feel his love and protection around us with that of our Lord and Savior.
I can’t really describe the feeling of seeing two of your babies hooked up to c-pap machines and not being able to actually see their faces. They tell you that your babies are fine otherwise, but as a parent it scares the crap out of you! You want to be able to see their beautiful faces. Luckily only Baby A and Baby D(Kyle) were on c-pap and the other two, Baby B(Cade) and Baby C were on room air. The two on c-pap only had to be on there for a day and then nasal cannulas for day and then they were also breathing room air. All our babies needed to do was maintain body temp and eat and gain weight and they would be able to come home. That was the best news we had ever heard. All we could do was thank God for keeping our babies healthy and for giving me the strength to carry them to the point where they were healthy.
It took us a couple of days to finally settle on names for the girls, and boy was the birth certificate office breathing down our necks haha…they had to give us a deadline. We settled on Aeryn Leigh and Brooklynn Elaine. Brooklynn was the smallest at 4lb 9oz, and she never even had to have a feeding tube-she came out ready to eat! Aeryn Leigh was dubbed as such since she was our trouble maker in Utero-very stubborn and that reminded me of her uncle Terry Lee, so she got the Leigh middle name and Aeryn is her cousin Raven’s middle name and we really liked the spelling and it just fit so well with Leigh. Brooklynn we always liked and spelled it with two N’s because of Sher’s middle name Lynn, and the Elaine was my grandma Manczak’s name.
Brooklynn was the first to come home after only 2 weeks in the NICU, and then the 3rd week came Aeryn and then a few days later Cade. Kyle took the longest to get out of the NICU because he would take out his feeding tube and then eat well and then go back to not eating and so they would have to put the tube back in and gavage the rest of his feedings and then it would start the watch all over again. He finally figured it out and came home at one month and one day old.
During the time the babies were in the NICU, and starting 2 days after I was released from the hospital, my incision busted open and I had to start going to wound care as well as going to the NICU. This was hard on us because Lizzy would not behave when we took her up to the hospital, and so we would either have to leave her with Sher’s mom or go after she went to bed at night, and she missed us…and she would say to me “Mommy don’t go, I need you!” and would cry and it would just break my heart. I know that she needed us but so did the babies. It was hard having our family in two separate places. The wound care I was undergoing told me that I needed a wound vac, so I started having that and only having to go to wound care 3 days a week instead of 7 days a week. What was hard about that was having to charge your vac at night and having to carry it around 24/7 and listen to what sounded like a coffee pot percolating 24/7 it was not very fun, but it finally healed, and I resigned myself that I was much happier having to tote around equipment for myself versus having to tote it around for one of the babies. I finally got rid of it just as Kyle was coming home! Good timing, since we now had 4 infants at home and all of the help that was going to come…didn’t…so we had us and Sher’s mom to hold a baby and feed a bottle. It worked we got into a routine, though neither of us had much sleep. I will continue the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say…in my next installment.