On Sunday, April 25, 2010, our life became a whirlwind. After attending a birthday party in McLean, I came home to rest. Around 7:00 p.m., while lying down in bed, my water broke. Greg, (yes, this life altering change has inspired me to call him by his real name) rushed me to Advocate-BroMenn hospital in Normal. As they were unprepared to handle a 24 weeks and 4 days rupture, I was transported by ambulance to OSF St. Francis Hospital in Peoria. Upon arrival there, the babies and I were monitored continually for 48 hours. We were able to find out that Baby B, whose sack had not ruptured, was a boy, Calvin. We were unable to find out the sex of Baby A, Austin, due to him being oblique, ruptured sac, and situated directly on my bladder. After holding me off in the ante partum wing for 4 days, Austin decided it was time to come into the world, so on Friday morning I woke up to bleeding and contracting, and was wheeled into labor and delivery. After 30 minutes of receiving an epidural, and it not taking, they could not wait any longer as Austin’s umbilical cord was compressed against my cervix. As a result, Greg was unable to experience the birth, but was immediately informed by the nurses when Baby A, Austin Mikel was born at 7:32 a.m., and a minute later when Baby B, Calvin Lawrence was born at 7:33 a.m. Austin weighed in at 1lb. 4 oz., 11 inches and Calvin weighed in at 1 lb. 10 oz., 12 ½ inches. (I ended up being out for an extra hour, due to the finding of a tennis ball size uterine fibroid, so was unaware of my two sons until 3 hours after they were born)!
After the boys were born they were immediately rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit, NICU, and were both put on ventilators. I was admitted to the post-partum wing, and was glad to see family surrounding me! That evening, the NICU called to inform us the boys were being taken off the ventilators and put on C-Pap machines. We were pretty proud of the boys for only being on vent for 12 hours each. Then Greg and I settled in for a 4 night stay, and I was able to start pumping around 4pm. Saturday morning Greg went down for the first session of rounds with the doctors. He came back to report that the doctors were impressed the boys were off the vents already and were doing better than they expected for being only 25 weeks. The doctors advised they would start priming the boys’ stomachs to prepare their digestive systems for food. They did advise it would be a roller coaster, a lot of stopping and starting of eating. I made my first trip to the NICU on Saturday May 1st. That morning was very hard to see my babies sooooooo little. That day we continued to pray and would go visit them in the NICU every few hours. Papa and Grammy Mcmahon, and Nana and Papa Fonger spent most of that day as well as the next two days on and off with us and we just continued to pray for them.
Sunday May, 2nd both boys continued to do well on the priming and were just being monitored with the feedings, blood, work and both on the c-pap.
Monday May, 3rd they had two big tests performed, one being a head ultrasound to check for a brain bleed, and the other a PDA test to check for the closing of the valve that connects the heart and lungs while in the womb. Both tests were run in the morning, and by afternoon we had GREAT results from the doctor. Both head ultrasounds came back normal and the PDA was closed on Austin, and maybe a little open on Calvin, but nothing they were going to treat, just monitor. So that made Mommy and Daddy very happy. They will do a follow up head ultra sound between days 10-14 of life, to check for the brain bleed again. We continued to visit the NICU every couple of hours that day. I finally got some milk to stimulate that day. Not much just a very tiny amount. So that was nice, to send down to the NICU for their priming. Even, though I was only getting a milliliter or two that is all they needed so it gave me some relief.
Tuesday May 4th, was a VERY hard day for Greg and I. We had to leave the boys, and go home. After lots and lots of tears we left the NICU around 6pm. I was relieved to know there is an 800 # I can call 24 hours a day to check with their nurses to see how each are doing. Of course, I told them they would be hearing from me 100 times a night. I made it through my first night at home on Tuesday, Auggie was glad to have mom and dad back at home. It was just very hard to be home without the boys and digest everything that had happened the past week or so.
Wednesday, May 5th was mostly the same as usual with priming, monitoring and lots of loving care from the wonderful NICU nurses. Of course I already have a few nurses that I love and have bonded with. Having such great nurses gave me a little relief to be at home and try to heal myself back from the surgery knowing that they were in good hands. Greg went back to work on Wednesday, Grammy spent the day with me until he got home from work and we headed to hospital. When we arrived at the hospital we received the news that we love to hear, that they had been doing quite well throughout the day.
Thursday, May 6th, here came our first hurdle or step back, Calvin’s stomach had some bubbles, so they stopped priming him and while doing an x-ray they found a tear in his lung. The dr called me at home and Greg on his cell phone to let us know the bump in the road. They continued to monitor the tear and it corrected it self by Saturday which was a huge relief. He didn’t start back on his feedings until Sunday. May 9th.
Friday, May 7th,they continued to watch the tear in Calvin's lung, and Austin was starting to get bubbles, in his stomach, so they stopped his feeding, so not a great day knowing both boys and been cut off their priming, and Calvin had the tear in his lung.
Saturday, May 8th that morning, we went to hospital and the doctors informed us the tear in Calvin ‘s lung had corrected itself, they were still going to hold the boys off on feeding that day, but we were relived the tear had gone away. We were also excited to find out that Austin was out of the humidity and I was able to Kangaroo (hold him on your chest for an hour). Calvin was still in a little humidity so we were unable to Kangaroo him. While I was sitting with Austin the doctor informed me that the chance were pretty high that Calvin would be out of the humidity by tomorrow and I would be able to Kangaroo him then.
Sunday, May 9th. Mommy's first Mother's Day! Not exactly how I had pictured it to be, but we made it through. Greg and I spent the day and were able to get good news for both boys. Both Austin and Calvin had gotten well enough from their stomach issues that they were able to start the priming again, and Calvin did indeed get out of the humidity and was stable enough to Kangaroo. The best thing so far about having twins in this situation has been that each of us got to Kangaroo with one of the boys. I got to hold Calvin for about an hour, and Greg got to hold Austin. We left the NICU around 5pm and had a visit from Grammy, Papa, Brian, Melissa, and Hannah for my first mother's day.
Monday, May 10th, was a good day for the boys. We found out Calvin was off the C-pap, and placed on a canula which is a machine that simply supplies oxygen but does not assist in breathing. I stayed home and rested with Grammy and then we headed to the hospital after Greg got home from work. Our biggest surprise when we arrived at the hospital was the sight of Calvin's face. The canula only requires a clear tube across his face with prongs in his nose, while we had gotten used to seeing him with the c-pap mask covering the majority of his face. I kangarood and held Calvin for a little over an hour tonight, which was VERY nice!
Tuesday, May 11th, was yet another good day. Grammy and I went to Walmart in the morning, to get some much needed supplies. I am still struggling quite a bit trying to get my milk to come in. I am still pumping every two to three hours, but unfortunately I am still only getting just a couple milliliters each time. Not sure what I will do once they start feeding and requiring more then a couple milliliters for their priming.
Wednesday, May 12th, was an okay day for boys. Austin, started to struggle a little with his breathing and had some heart rate drops and Bradychardia (where they forget to breath) Dr. informed us they will have those on and off for quite awhile so those are common. It means they are getting tired, and may have to take a step back on the the support. Even though that scares Greg and I, we are trying to remain positive and realize that they are small and they will not constantly move forward. Grammy and Papa went to the Cubs game in Chicago today. Papa Mcmahon brought back two cubby bears for the boys. I am sure they will be Cub fans some day. Nana Fonger came and stayed with me and took me to hopsital mid afternoon and then Greg met us. The doctor advised they will do a follow up head ultrasound on Thursday.
Thursday, May 13th was another so-so day. Austin had a bad night with the breathing, he had many bradychardia's and they had to up his breath's per minute on the c-pap to 20. The boys had their head ultrasounds done, but we won't have any results for 24 hours.
Friday May 14th, wasn't a good day for the Fonger boys! We are finally starting to believe what the doctor's and nurses told us at the beginning when they told us that this would be a rollercoaster ride. The results came in on the head ultrasound, and they found a small brain hemhorrage on Calvin. Of course this is not at all what we wanted to hear, but after talking to the doctor we do feel a little better about the finding. The doctor told us that brain bleeds are rated 1-4, 4 being the worst, and Calvin was experiencing a 1 bordering on a 2. She said those are considered mild, common with someone their age, and they usually work themselves out and if not there is usually not any long term effects from them. They will recheck it again in 1 week to make sure that if it has not fixed itself, it is at least not getting bigger. Austin's head ultrasound came back clear, which was a relief, so they won't check his again till around 34 weeks, close to when we go home. Austin was continuing to struggle with his breathing when we left this evening, still having heart rate drops and oxygen saturation drops. It is so hard, but if they have to put him back on vent we will deal with it. There is only one more setting they can bump him up on the c-pap before they would put him back on the vent. I am sure he is getting tired, and if he needs to spend some time on the vent to rest, that is what we want to happen. I was able to kangaroo Austin for an hour and a half this afternoon. YEAH!! Greg worked at the tap tonight, so Shelly and Lindsey came over to visit, and then Brian and Melissa were in town for a wedding so they spent the night.
Saturday, May 15th wasn't quite as bad as Friday, but still not what we would consider a good day. They bumped Austin up to the highest setting on the c-pap. We hope he doesn't have to go back on vent again today, but are willing to accept it if he is getting tired. Calvin, improved on his breathing only having a couple Bradychardia (heart rate drops). We were at hospital most of the day, then came home for an hour or two before we headed back with Nana and Papa Fonger. Shortly after we returned, the respitory therapist was there to change out Austin's c-pap mask. She was able to hold him up and we could see him with all his gear off. He opened his eyes wide as could be to Nana and she started balling her eyes out. I told the nurses I am sure that won't be the last time they see her cry her eyes out. Nana and Papa both brought the boys their first little Case IH tractors. After we left hospital, Nana and Papa took us to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. It was my first time in public in three weeks, other then hospital and home.
Sunday, May 16th today was a pretty good day for boys. Mommy and daddy are home now and tired. We put in an 11 hour day over there. They gave Austin some blood today as his blood count was getting low. Hopefully, that will help his breathing. He only had 2 bradychardia all day today. Calvin didn't have any so far. I was able to hold Calvin for an hour today. I am still pumping every 2-3 hours and still not getting a whole lot, but I'm not throwing in the towel yet!!!
Finally after much coaxing from Greg and my mom I am up-to-date on the boys' journey, and plan on posting an update every day. I know this first one was long, but you should be pretty well up to speed on their development.