February 10, 2011
I needed a little time before I could post the photos of my boys. But now I am ready to share a few pictures of our little guys – each one so unique and beautiful to me. I am missing them today something terrible.
This first photo is the one on my desk that I see all day, every day. I love that they are together in this shot. Brothers – together forever.
So, I think this may be the end of the blog for now. They will always be in my heart, I am and will always be their mother – but I truly wanted to be their “mommy”. I will be forever changed, always missing them, my beautiful boys.
November 4, 2010
It is hard to believe that yesterday, one month had passed since Trace left this world, and it was just 5 weeks ago that my precious boys were born too soon. Yesterday, I finally gathered the courage to go pick up their ashes.
It has undoubtedly been the hardest month of my life, but as so many baby loss moms have told me, it does get a little easier with time. I have good days and bad days; sadness and anger – and every once in awhile a little ray of hope that motherhood may still be attainable – just not through a pregnancy in my body (which as expected, my OB confirmed would be far too risky). Adoption? Surrogacy? Childless? How does one choose? For now, it is simply time for information gathering and research into our options. Hopefully a path will become clear – yet it is hard to not wonder if we are doomed and if we pursue some other options – would we once again end up on the wrong side of the odds. When is enough enough?
Last week a wonderful mother from the local twins group graciously sent over Chinese food for our dinner. My fortune cookie said: “Where there is a will, there is a way”. Could that really be true?
Overall, every day is a little easier than the last, and I remain grateful and humbled by the support shown by close friends, and so many people I have never met who reached out at our time of need. Thank you all!
My Quinn and Trace will never be forgotten – they will always be our children and a part of our lives. At the same time, I am trying to find an ever-illusive new normal.
October 5, 2010
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I share with you the events of the past few days. Please only read this if you want to know the details of these days. There have been so many good friends that have gone far above and beyond in supporting me (and us) during this journey. I felt you each deserved to hear the story of our boys – but it is so painful, that I cannot fathom recounting it again and again.
On Wednesday, September 29th, I went into labor (unknowingly until the nurses saw the umbilical cord coming out). I had an emergency c-section in a course of events that happened faster than I imagined possible.
At 2:13pm, Quinn Hudson was born, weighing only 210 grams. Quinn was Baby A – our baby whose waters broke 2 weeks earlier. Quinn had light brown hair, and long legs, fingers and toes (or at least they looked very long, maybe because he was so small) and he had the cutest little nose.
At 2:14PM, Trace Allen was born, weighing just 250 grams. Trace had dark brown hair and also had long legs, arms, fingers and toes. He had the most beautiful curly eyelashes and such soft hair at the nape of his neck. They were both beautiful, gorgeous – and my heart was immediately filled with love for them and a protective instinct that simply cannot be described.
That evening, we were told that Quinn’s lungs were simply not mature enough to sustain his life for very long, that the pulmonary hypoplasia that we had feared resulting from the premature rupture of membranes was a reality. They let me spend the last hour of his life with him, and then let me hold him as he passed around 9pm. I was able to spend time with him telling him how much we loved him and wanted him and stroking his tiny head and holding his body against my aching chest. Our hearts were broken.
The next few days Trace had many ups and downs. We named him Trace – which means “fierce”, and he truly lived up to his name in those days. Twice on Friday morning, we were called to his bedside and told that the end was likely near – and each time he rallied. Later that morning we were told that he had experienced a level II and III brain bleed – which is very serious for a micro-preemie. Despite the news, his labs and statistics were improving on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. There were many issues hour by hour that I won’t recount here – but he seemed to be making progress at overcoming each hurdle – yet the extent and long-term consequences of the brain bleed were always in our thoughts.
It was simply gut wrenching watching his little body fighting and struggling so hard connected to the breathing machines and attached to so many different types of medical equipment that was keeping him alive. They would let us come in to hold his hand or touch his head through the enclosed bed, but he was so dependent on the machines that there was no way for me to hold him in my arms.
As I was preparing to be dismissed from the hospital Sunday afternoon, I went into the NICU to discuss the latest repeat brain ultrasound with the doctor and spend some time with my little fighter. The doctor informed me that the latest brain ultrasound had shown no changes in the bleeding- but that otherwise his labs were improving. We knew that any further bleeding (and perhaps the bleeding he had already experienced) put him at great risk.
Perhaps he sensed that I was leaving. Because almost immediately upon my arrival at his bedside, I noticed that his blood pressure was lower than it should be and dropping. And in the few minutes that I was watching him, it started decreasing with shocking speed. At the same time, his heartrate also started declining. We were later told that it is likely he had another brain bleed that was catastrophic.
In a moment that will be forever branded in my brain, I was forced to make a split second decision as to whether they should try to resuscitate him yet again, or whether we should let him go. This is not a choice any mother or parent should be forced to make – EVER!!! But I believe in my heart that I made the right choice in allowing him to go and ending the struggle and pain of my beautiful and innocent baby boy.
Around 2pm on Sunday October 3rd, at my request, the wonderful, caring staff of the NICU disconnected his machines and let me hold him on my chest as he took his last gasps of air. And in the minutes that followed I was able to hold him against my chest and stroke his beautiful head and body and tell him how much he was wanted and loved and how he will never be forgotten. He looked so peaceful that it just looked like he was asleep.
Although this whole thing seems so unfair, I can at least be grateful that I was with him during his last moments and if there is any way possible that he could sense my emotions, he will know that he was wanted and loved more than anyone could imagine.
In the course of five days, my heart has been broken in a way I never thought possible – and at the same time I have loved two little baby boys more than I could ever imagine. I would trade absolutely anything and everything in the world to have those boys back with us and healthy – but alas, that will never be possible.
I left the hospital later Sunday afternoon with nothing except the pain of a heart broken in a million pieces – and that pain dramatically exceeds the pain of recovering from the c-section.
I am undeniably broken. And I feel a pain that seems like it will never go away. My entire life I have always imagined myself as a mother, and a few hours – even a few days of having my sons is simply not long enough. I can honestly say that even through the difficulties of this pregnancy, I never imagined it would end this way – somehow I thought that I could will my way to a successful outcome – but it was not meant to be, but surely not for a lack of trying.
I fear that this may end my dream of motherhood – and because the last 5 – 10 years of my life have been primarily focused on becoming a mother, I am truly at a loss as to what my life and future will be. One thing I know for sure, is that I will never subject another child to the risk of pregnancy in my body. And the likelihood of infant adoption at our ages (not to mention the expense) makes motherhood seem nearly out of reach. Regardless of whether I am to be someone’s mother, it will not in any way diminish or take the place of the beautiful boys that were with us for such a short time.
I cannot end this post without thanking the amazing people who came to my side (our sides) during this very difficult pregnancy, birth and loss. M and I will forever be grateful. Without each of you (and you know who you are), I don’t know how we would have made it this far. Words cannot express my gratitude at how you held me up when I couldn’t do it for myself.
My body has failed my boys – they never deserved the pain and struggle that came from being born just far too early. They were perfect boys in a catastrophic situation.
Quinn and Trace were beautiful, amazing baby boys and I know this one thing for sure – I will never, ever be the same because of loving and then losing them. Rest in peace my little boys. Mommy will always love you!
September 28, 2010
I feel a bit like Goldilocks. Today they brought yet another new bed for me – this one is number 3.
The first bed really wasn’t bad – I think the nurses were trying to be nice and get me an air bed to ensure I don’t get any bedsores from not moving. Unfortunately, bed 2 was NOT an air bed, it was something else they decided to give me since the air beds are only for people who already have bedsores. Okay, based on that criteria, I never want an air bed from them! :-)
So, bed number 2 reminded me a bit of a memory foam mattress – very squishy and soft – which didn’t provide as much support as the first bed and I actually felt more pressure points than on the original bed and made it much harder for me to lay on my side (a common position for preggo women). So, I asked if they could make just one more switch. And today, I got bed number 3. I think it is the original bed with just a different kind of mattress.
If I am lucky, this one will be “just right”! Time will tell, but it does seem better, and certainly a bit more firm.
My OB showed up today and let me know that the perinatologist will be in to see me tomorrow. While I am slightly excited about seeing the boys on an ultrasound- it brings a bit of a sense of nerves, hoping that it does not bring any scary news.
September 23, 2010
Today is officially 25 weeks and 1 day – and this is day 8 of hospital house arrest….er, my stay at the Glendale Adventist Hotel.
I had the greatest nurse today – she was terrific – a real mood brightener! And while I think almost all of the nurses here are really nice – this one was extra terrific and took wonderful care of me today.
I’m still trying to figure out why it seems that every other day is good – not sure why the in between days are different, but something is making me sort of sick every other day. I’m going to try for two good days in a row tomorrow – wish me luck!
The boys and I are doing well. They are hanging in there – good and consistent heart rates, making the doctor as happy as possible. And, surprisingly, I’ve done a decent job of being able to keep them on the monitors consistently. I have the monitors on from 6am until midnight – then they let me have a rest so I can get some sleep.
So, here’s the big accomplishment for today – I got the doctor to agree to only doing blood draws every 12 hours rather than every 6 hours. That’s pretty cool since they were waking me up at midnight and 6am (in addition to the noon and 6pm draws), and my arm looks like I’ve been shooting up nonstop for weeks. They were even contemplating trying to find a vein in my foot tonight…but I talked them into hitting my arm again instead. Phew.
For the last two days – I haven’t received anything that I ordered from “room service” (the hospital trays). Thankfully, I had a visit with a new nutritionist today and hopefully convinced her that the twins and I need to eat frequent high protein foods – so, we’ll see if things improve. I think they were just teasing me when they sent me what I asked the first day I did the write-in menu. Since then, it has been brown chunk surprise on a daily basis. I figured out that they keep some sandwiches in the fridge here though – so I usually skip the tray and just ask for a snack box. That usually has a sandwich, apple and maybe a cookie – much better than the chunk trays. LOL
Well, not much else new to report. I am glad that at least the new fall TV schedule has started, but boy do I miss TiVo. 🙂
September 19, 2010
I have very little to report since my last update. And that is a very good thing! :-) The doctor sees me daily and every day I tell him the boys are still doing well – hopefully growing, and nothing else is going on with me.
So, here’s the view from here:
I have a private room – at the hospital that happens to have the largest labor and delivery rooms in the city (according to my perinatologist). So, a nice big, private room with a view of the hills and trees. I’m calling it “The Hotel”! I hope to hole up here for another 8 – 12 weeks if I can. At least until 32 weeks – longer if possible. Of course this is not in my hands – but it is good to have a goal!
I met with the dietician today so I can get a little extra nutrition for these growing boys – and they promised me an extra snack each day. So, with that, and the food that Michael and other friends bring – I will make sure we get the proper nutrients!
I remain on the antibiotics, magnesium sulfate “mag”, and abide by the “no feet on the floor until after delivery” rule. I’ll write about the joys of the “mag” some other time.
As of Friday (Sept 17th), the boys are 1lb 6 oz (Lefty), and 1lb 11 oz (Junior) and 24w 2days. The perinatologist said they were on track for their age and will continue evaluating them every two weeks. Apparently that is the normal length of time between measurements for now. And yes, it is absolutely possible that both of them could continue growing normally (just a bit more work for Lefty now).
Of course there is a concern that Lefty (with the ruptured sac) could have some complications from not being in a floating environment – but we really won’t know for awhile, assuming I can continue to talk them into staying inside. THAT is the big goal – no contractions, no labor! In my mind I am walking a picket line with a big sign and the word labor with the crossed out circle over it (the universal “no” sign). After all, if I can’t physically walk, I might as well exercise mentally, right?
I’ve been chatting with both boys both daily – telling them how important it is for them to not be impatient right now – and just stay where they are! I hope they are listening and aren’t already thinking about being rebellious. Plenty of time for that later – when they are older.
Overall, the doctor is pleased with how things are going (aside from the rupture of course), and so we will hope and pray that they keep growing on schedule and just stay put.
September 16, 2010
One thing is abundantly clear – the boys are already running our lives – on their own schedule and with their own agenda!
Last night the water sack for Lefty broke – and so we are now officially in the hospital until we deliver. Phew.
Thankfully, I am not contracting or bleeding, so the whole goal at this point is to see how long we can convince these guys to stay inside.
Today is 24weeks and 2 days – far too early for them to arrive if Mom has any say in the matter. 28 weeks is an interim short term goal – but my big milestone goal is 32 weeks – anything beyond that is wonderful too. So, 32 is my vision for now if I have any say.
I am on antibiotics, a magnesium drip (to relax everything), and I’ve had one of two steroid shots to mature their lungs “just in case”. It probably goes without saying that all privledges have been officially revoked. No showers, bathroom, walking, anything. Luckily, my hospital has wi-fi! 🙂
I have myriad wires, tubes, etc. connected up – machines squeezing my legs to keep blood clots away, three monitors on my belly – one for each boy, plus one to measure any contractions, IVs, cath, blood pressure cuff, finger cuff for my pulse – well, you get the idea. I always wanted to be well connected – THIS is not the picture of well-connected that I had in my head though! :-) But I figure the longer I can keep the monitors, wires, blood draws, etc. on me while they stay in me, the better it is for us all!
So, we welcome your prayers, thoughts, comments, suggestions and uplifting success stories!
September 12, 2010
My ever loving, patient and kind husband picked up the twins’ cribs yesterday. They were such a great find from my local parents of multiples group. Two white Pottery Barn cribs – never been used- and for about half of what it would have cost us new! Score!
Here’s what they look like in the Pottery Barn catalog:
This definitely falls under the category of “it takes a village”. First, there was the kind mother of 2 year old twins who was willing to sell them for half of what it would cost me to buy them new – and let Michael pick them up while she was knee deep in making cupcakes for her twins’ second birthday party today. Then there was the kindness of my oh-so-wonderful friend who actually took her son and drove to the local Pottery Barn Kids store to check how white this crib was – it is the typical creamy white of most furniture that Pottery Barn sells, so I am hopeful I’ll be able to match other stuff to it relatively easily. And of course, my tireless husband who worked 8 hours (on a Saturday) at his “real job”, and THEN drove to get the cribs, loaded them on the pickup, and then unloaded them here last night. Our boys are so lucky to already have a village. 🙂
Now, I still need to get the changing table/dresser, the glider/recliner, and bedding. I’m thinking blue striped bed skirts will give me some good sheet choices – since apparently all of the cute bumpers and quilts are completely taboo now due to smothering hazards. How did we ever survive childhood with all of those hazards?
September 2, 2010
As promised in my earlier post – here’s the latest ultrasound photos at 22 weeks exactly. It always seems like one of them isn’t cooperating for being photographed. In this case, the first one is a one pretty good shot of a face, but the second one is an almost undecipherable arm and head (the head is on the left facing right but away from you with his arm sort of hiding part of his face and his hand touching his forehead). Can you see it? Try squinting. 🙂
Doesn’t this remind you of laying on the grass in the summer trying to figure out what animal shapes (or other shapes) the clouds looked like?
Who would have thought I’d be barefoot and pregnant…not the picture I had in my head. But, I realized today when I put my shoes on for the FIRST time in 14 days, yep, I’ve been barefoot and pregnant, thanks to bedrest. LOL
Okay, after many requests – here is the belly shot at 22 weeks – doesn’t look as big in this shirt as it does in some others – and not as big as it feels!
The twins were doing well at today’s perinatologist visit. “Lefty” weighs 1 pound 1 oz now, and “Junior” is exactly one pound. So, both are measuring about 1 day ahead of their “real” gestational age. I didn’t get great photos today – just one of them is a cute face shot, I’ll post it later after I get it scanned.
That’s all for now!