Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Silas & Liam

Liam Douglas and Silas Robert entered the world today at 1:21 and 1:23pm, respectively. Silas measured 5lbs 5oz, 18.5 in and Liam measured 5lbs 6oz, 18 in. Both boys are in the special care nursery, but are doing well on room air.

K is recovering well from the c-section. She was already up and walking around by 4:30pm and met the boys for the first time around 5pm. K really is a true ROCK STAR!! J and I are so in love and can't even begin to thank K enough for these two precious gifts. We are so very blessed!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's me K...

bored out of my mind on bed rest (but so not complaining because I know many of you did it for much longer then I'll have to even if I make it to 38 weeks).

Here's my update, I'm home, chillaxin as I call it and I cannot help but wonder about when these babies will come, so I'm just asking all of you twin mom's out there, how many of you were dilated to 4 and on bed rest, and how long did you make it before the babies came? Also feel free to share with me how your twin labor started! I thank you in advance for the entertainment!

It has been fun seeing Niki and J get so excited this week, and makes me remember why I chose to do this! I'm certain they are going to be remarkable parents to these boys!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An overnight stay at Labor & Delivery

We thought we were going to meet our boys last night, but they weren’t quite ready for the world just yet! On Saturday K lost her mucus plug, which can be a sign of labor. Yesterday she began having contractions throughout the day while at work and wiped a little blood, so she called the clinic and they had her come in. The ob checked and she was 3 cm dilated (unsure about effacement because her cervix was high), so he sent her over to Labor & Delivery for monitoring. K had contractions throughout the night that ranged from 3-10 minutes apart and would go up and down in frequency. The boys were highly active (“wild” in K’s words) and had great accelerations and heart rates on the monitors.

K stayed at the hospital overnight for monitoring, so they could evaluate her contractions and recheck her cervix this morning. Her cervix was dilated to just under 4 cm this morning, but the contractions overnight were mild. Therefore, the ob took her off work and sent her home on modified “bed rest”--she has shower and bathroom privileges and is allowed to attend her son's P-T conference this week. K didn't get much sleep last night, so she was going to nap this afternoon. Her contractions are irregular, but she's still having the "vagina ache" as she likes to call it. The ob said he’d like to see her get to February 1. Now we just wait and see what happens!

I am in a weird place of high anxiety and confusion. I'd love for the boys to bake a little longer, but I'm also anxious for their arrival. The not knowing when they'll come is extremely hard for me as a Type A planner. You would think that infertility prepared me to be patient, but I guess I've forgotten that lesson! Also, I worry that we've come so far to let some freak event like a cord accident or placental abruption to take one of our babies. This is why I'd rather have them here with us. I know that they would be born premature and I'm not wishing for preemies, but I also know that over 5lb, 34 weekers will do well in the NICU. After having had a micro-preemie under a pound these boys are going to seem giant! At this point they'd be among the feeders and the growers in the NICU. I feel that if they were here in the world we could control more than we can with them inside the uterus. Please don't lecture me ... I know the boys are best in the uterus, but I also know how in the blink of an eye tragedy can strike in utero.

Okay, as I tell my students when they are anxious or rowdy and need to calm down ... breathe in deep and slowwwwly release!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Myles!

The five star ice lanterns signify the five members of our family. Myles' star is the clear one in the middle flanked by a star for Liam and Silas. The outermost ice lanterns represent Josh and me.

J's brother showed up to take some photos and sing happy birthday with us. He was kind enough to take this photo of us at Myles' grave.

I can't put into words how I'm feeling today. I feel grateful for having given birth to such an amazing little boy, yet I'm sad that Myles isn't here to help us welcome his little brothers in a few weeks. I must admit that this year I'm in a better position to celebrate Myles' life. I've cried less this year than I did last year, but that's not really saying much. I feel like each year I heal a little more, yet I'm certain I'll never stop grieving for my "Smyles". I miss him dearly and spent much of my day wondering what he'd be like today. I like to think Myles would be funny and a bit mischievious like his daddy and that he'd have a heart-melting smile with big, blue eyes like mine.

Monday, January 18, 2010


by "Auntie" D.P.
(one of my bff's)

I was thinking of you today
And wishing you were here
Your Mommy and Daddy miss you so
And wish they could hold you near
I’ll never know why some things
Happen as they do
But I am so very glad
That I was able to meet you
I remember seeing your first picture
It was in black and white
The dream your parents hoped for
It was such a precious sight
Your Mommy and I talked for hours
About her hopes and dreams for you
She loved you before she met you
She would do anything for you
Your Dad was excited about the news
That a little one was on the way!
At one point he claimed he would change no diapers
“HA!” Was what your Mom had to say!
You were born so very early
And had so many odds to overcome
And Mom and Dad stayed by your side
To help you fight everyone
I remember when we first met you
I held your hand and said “Hello”
“It’s us, your Auntie and Uncle, Myles”
“And we both love you so”
We didn’t share any words
Though you spoke right to my heart
You were such an amazing little boy
And you were a fighter right from the start.
Your life on earth wasn’t long enough
An irreplaceable 26 days
You filled the hearts of your family with love
And changed us in so many ways.
I hope you like the balloons I send
Over the rainbow and headed your way
I send them on special occasions
And even for an “I miss Myles” day
I look forward to talking with your siblings
And telling them all about their brother Myles
But your Daddy will really say it best when he tells them
Myles was full of smiles
Thank you little buddy
For bringing us all such joy
You will never be forgotten Myles
You precious little boy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

33 weeks

The 33 week appointment was eventful, but it went well. K is doing great--bp is still perfect! Both boys had strong heart rates and are growing right on track--Liam's weight was estimated at 4lbs 14oz and Silas' weight was estimated at 4lbs 12oz. I'm thrilled that the boys are nearly 5lbs each!

K had a biophysical profile (BPP) just like last time. Liam easily passed the BPP scoring 8/8. Silas on the other had refused to cooperate. He was very active during the scan, but didn't do enough practice breathing. The u/s tech had K roll on her side to try to get him to cooperate, but he just didn't feel like showing us his breathing. Silas would practice breathe for a few seconds, but not for the minimum 20 seconds at a time that is required during the scan. Therefore, he earned a 6/8. I was a little stressed and worried about Silas not passing the test, but K's ob and the u/s tech didn't seem too worried. They tried to reassure me that all was likely okay.

Because Silas didn't pass the BPP K had to have a non-stress test (NST). During the NST both Silas and Liam were monitored in addition to K's contractions. In order to pass the NST the babies need to have at least 2 accelerations of heart rates during a 20 minute time period. The nurse gave K some apple juice to give the babies a sugar boost to get them going. Liam who's normally the calm baby was bouncing all over and had his 2 accelerations almost immediately, but the little stinker, Silas, decided to take a nap. Finally towards the end of the time period Silas had a couple of small accelerations, which were enough for the ob to call it good, and let K go home. As soon as K got home Silas "went into overdrive" with his activity. I guess we have one little boy who's already strong-willed and does his own thing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's me K....

Hello everyone! I'm finally finding time to update you guys on me! As you all know from Niki's last posting, I am having menstrual like cramps, and they have continued, BUT not changed. Our OB thinks this is business as usual with twins, and isn't worried in the least. He did tell me if I start have consistent global contractions, to call ASAP! So far none of that. Which is good, because we need to get to 34 weeks so we can deliver closer to home, near our families and especially my two boys! I am still working 3 days a week in surgery, my co-workers are good to me and don't push me, I suspect I'll owe them big when this is over ;-)

Can you believe this pregnancy is just hours away from 33 weeks! I find that thrilling for multiple reasons, first and foremost these babies will be healthy and well! Second of all Niki and J are going to get to give Myles siblings, and love these boys to pieces. As it turns out I'm also getting excited to rid myself of heartburn, move a bit easier and enjoy a stiff drink after all is said and done. (Don't get me wrong I've enjoy this pregnancy, but it is about that time) After all my uterus is measuring 45 weeks, so walking around 5 weeks overdue takes a lot from a person, lol!

I hope you are all well, and as always thank you for supporting Niki during this journey, you are an amazing group of people who all deserve the best!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

K's having mestrual-like cramps

Since yesterday K has been having menstrual-like cramps. They aren't contractions (although she's had B-H contractions on and off for weeks), but rather feel like period cramps. She called the on-call ob who told her that the cramping could continue and then quit (irritable uterus) or it could lead to contractions (pre-term labor). He told her to take it easy and call if anything changes. It's not surprising that K's uterus is irritable from Liam kicking down on her cervix and all the pressure from two babies, but it has me worried. K has been relaxing with her feet up, which is tough for her as she's always on the go, and has been hydrating well. I'm guessing that her ob will want to see her before our scheduled appointment on Friday and will check her cervix to make sure she isn't dilating. I'll feel better when we hear back from our ob because I trust his judgement better than that of the on-call ob. Please keep K and the babies in your thoughts and prayers. We'd love for them to keep baking for at least 12 more days--34 weeks is the initial goal!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pumping and Breastfeeding Class

First I must say thank you for your kind words, encouragement, and suggestions. It means a lot to me to have all of your support. I'm still pumping away every 2-3 hours and all I can say is thank goodness for Medela Hydrogel Pads--they are like a cool piece of heaven on my sore nipples! I emailed Lenore, the woman who pioneered the lactation induction protocol that I'm using with Dr. Newman, and she made me feel better about how things are progressing. Here's what she had to say:

"As for your current impending arrival, you have done all the right things. Inducing a milk supply proceeds quite differently from lactation following a birth. The reason for this is that we can only approximate some of the hormones involved during pregnancy and we're missing a big one....human placental lactogen which is only present during pregnancy. We approach inducing lactation as a two phase process. The hormones can only do so much in phase 1 which is developing the milk making structures. Phase 2 is building the milk supply. To do that it is vitally important that you pump at least 8 times per 24 hours for about 20-30 minutes each time. According to research out of Australia, frequency of milk expression is more important than duration. We typically suggest fenugreek and blessed thistle along with domperidone once you stop the birth control pill and begin pumping. It generally takes about a week for the birth control pill to leave your system. It suppresses milk production while building the breast tissue. Once the milk starts flowing, it tends to build and build. Keep up the great work and your supply should build and build."

I felt much better after reading Lenore's response as she induced lactation herself and has worked with many others who've done it. At least I now know that my response isn't atypical and that I'm on track. I'm adding the herbs this weekend (after I get them) and plan to increase my dom dose to 3 tablets 4x/day (thanks for the suggestion Saffy!). Even without these changes I have already experienced an increase in milk production at each pumping. Last week I just had droplets forming on my nipples that didn't drip into the bottles, but this week I get a few mL that drip into the bottles with each pumping. I'm getting at least 2oz a day from my 8 pumpings. At this point I only pump once in the night around 1:30am, but then sleep until 5:30am and don't pump again until 6:30am. In about 2 weeks I plan to add a 3:30am pumping. I have to pump around 6:30am because I need to leave my house no later than 7:10am to get to school to start teaching at 7:35am. I can't pump again until 11:25am, so I want to have that morning pump as close to 7am as possible.

On Tuesday night J and I attended a breastfeeding class. I was nervous about going. The thought of sitting in a room full of pregnant women isn't the most appealing situation for me (thanks infertility!). It doesn't help that I'm obviously not pregnant and would get some funny looks. As I expected I did get a few stares despite arriving late and sitting in the back. We had to go around the room to introduce ourselves by stating our name(s), EDD, and gender of the baby(ies). I said "I'm Niki. This is my husband J. We are expecting twins via my cousin, our surrogate." I was so flustered that I forgot to mention the genders, so J added "boys ... the twins are boys". I'm sure that everyone in the room was curious why I was at a breastfeeding class (except the teacher ... she was thrilled that I was there), but no one asked. Instead they tried to steal curious looks at me. Nothing like feeling like a complete anomaly.

I thought the class was informational, but J couldn't help himself. He whispered jokes to me throughout the whole class. His favorite, that he's stil saying, is "Niki, can I get time at breast?" The teacher kept referring to "time at breast", so J couldn't help himself. Yep, I'm married to a man who often acts like a teenager. I appreciated J keeping the mood light, which he always does, but I felt bad for giggling. Although he's a jokester, J did take the class seriously and learned a lot. I think the stats they presented will help J to be even more supportive of my efforts.

We signed up for a newborn care class that meets next week. I think I'll be less uncomfortable at this class than I was at the breastfeeding class.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Feeling Discouraged Already

For those of you who don't know I'm using Dr. Newman's Regular Protocol for inducing lactation. I started the protocol around 10-11 weeks gestation and just last Tuesday (12/29) stopped the hormones and began pumping with the Medela Symphony. I pump every 2-3 hours for 15 minutes (plan to start pumping for 20 min) and take domper.idone 30mg 3x/day. On my first pump I had droplets of milk on my nipples, which continued throughout day 1, and on day 2 I had droplets that dripped into the bottles (probably about 1-2mL total). I've seen a similar pattern for the last few days--I get droplets that drip into the bottle, but don't amount to much more than a 1-2mL. I certainly don't see any spraying of breast milk and although my breasts are larger I don't think they swell with milk. I don't know what to expect as I don't know anyone else who's done this and I'm already feeling discouraged and down.

I am worried that my hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS is going to prevent me from getting a good milk supply. I was able to pump for Myles, but never produced very much. I took out my pumping book and discovered that I was pumping about an 1-2 oz per pumping session for an average daily pumping total of 14 oz per day. I know this is a low supply and I think this fact coupled with my response from the first few days of pumping is making me think that I'm not going to produce much again. It makes me think that I'm just wasting my time in addition to the money I'm spending on renting the pump, buying the domperi.done and herbal supplements.

I just started drinking Mother's Milk tea 3x/day and tomorrow will begin using More Milk Special Blend at 1/4 tsp 4x/day.

I was in tears tonight thinking that I won't be able to do this for my boys. I couldn't bring them into the world, but was hoping that my body would do something for them. I feel bad for whining when I'm so fortunate to be expecting two babies. This is the first time during the entire pregnancy when I've felt bad for not being able to physically do anything for them. Maybe the hormone drop from stopping the birth control pills and the rise in my prolactin levels is making me emotional, but whatever it is it stinks! I honestly feel a little bit like a failure--I feel like I'm failing my boys already and they aren't even here yet.