Saturday, July 12, 2008

More Visitors for the Girls

Not a lot has changed for the girls today, really. Olivia is off of the CPAP and Sydney should be soon as well.

Grandma Pat and Aunt Judy went to Children's and visited the girls. The NICU nurse informed Grandma Pat that Sydney and Olivia are both quite vocal and can be heard in the hallways on occasion crying. That's impressive for how tiny they are! Pat says that Olivia is obviously part of her family as she quickly went from crying to sound asleep on her side after getting some food...

Also visiting the girls today were Mike and Nozomi. After seeing the girls, Mike and Nozomi met me for dinner in Olivette. Afterwards I headed down to spend a few hours with the girls before heading home.

I'm putting lots of miles in making the round trips and I'm sure Cassius and Sugar are not liking the amount of time they are spending in their crates. I think they got spoiled while their mom was at home on bedrest...

Lucky for us, it was another good day for Olivia & Sydney. I was even able to drop off some milk that Jeni was able to provide!


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Girls Are Sharing Already!

So, today they moved the girls into a room together. They had only been around the corner from each other in the NICU, but now they are sharing a room. Their little isolettes are now right next to one another. Sydney is on the left and Olivia is on the right.

The girls were also a little jaundiced, so they are getting photo-therapy with bili-lights. It looks kinda like a mini tanning bed... :)

As for their status, things are going well. Olivia, who initially needed some extra help breathing, has made huge improvements. Her breathing tube was removed late last night and is now on a CPAP like Sydney. Sydney, was given the same meds that Olivia received, but a few hours later and is still getting some extra oxygen. They will soon be on room air (the same thing you and I breathe).

In addition to me, the girls got their first visitors today at Children's. Grandma Sharon & Grandpa Rick got to see them up close for the first time.

The girls aren't really eating yet (getting any feedings) but hopefully soon Jeni will be providing them some milk. I plan on being a modern day milk shuttle service with what the folks in the NICU call "Liquid Gold".


The Girls at Children's

I stayed with Jeni for a few more hours at MOBAP before heading down to Children's to see the girls. I had never been to Children's Hospital before and didn't know what to expect. I knew all of the great things that had been said about the level of care and how it ranks as top 10 in the country, but I hadn't seen it first-hand.

One word for Children's Hospital: WOW.

That place is just amazing. First Class all the way.

Even the parking garage is nice! I parked in the garage and made my way to the 2nd level bridge that connects to the hospital. Immediately entering there, a check-in desk attendant greeted me and asked to help me. I informed him that I was there to see the Wideman Twins in the NICU. (Just saying that for the first time gave me a funny feeling...) The attended printed out two stickers for me to place on my chest, labeling me as the parent... Again, more funny feelings.

I made my way to the NICU and checked in there. They started a sign-in sheet for the girls, so that we could keep track of who visits. Finally, I made my way back to their rooms. Yes, I said ROOMS. They each had their own room! And, those rooms were each BIGGER than the room Jeni was in back at the other hospital! AND, they each had their own nurse...

Here's Olivia's room.

And here she is... wearing a hat. She must've been cold. She's still got the breathing tube in for now.
And here's Miss Sydney's Room.

Here she is sleeping. She's wearing a CPAP to give her some extra forced air and a tiny bit of extra oxygen.

I spent about 2 hours going back and forth between rooms, just putting my hands in on the girls to comfort them.

I left late in the evening and exhausted from a HUGE day of excitement. It was a total blur, but a day I will never, ever forget.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

After Delivery

Following their arrival, the babies were bundled up and taken down to the Special Care Nursery. I headed out into the hallway and attempted to find anyone I could share the news with.

Jeni's mom had to leave for a work meeting while we were in the delivery room and I couldn't immediately locate Dad and Vicki. I finally got ahold of Vicki on her cell phone and found out that they had been waiting in the family waiting room for a while. However, Dad got anxious and couldn't sit still so they had to head down to the cafeteria.

Dad and Vicki made it back up to the third floor and Jeni was wheeled back into her room so she could recover and rest. Unfortunately, the meds they gave her for her spinal made her extremely nauseous. As she rested, Dad, Vicki and I talked in the hallway and waited for the rest of the family to arrive. Soon Jeni was feeling up for visitors, so Dad and Vicki sat and talked with Jeni while I checked on the babies.

I made my way to the Special Care Nursery and got my first peek at the girls there.

Olivia was on a breathing tube to help her little lungs work better. She received some medications immediately to help them work as well.

Sydney was a crier and breathing on her own immediately, so she was not given the same meds.

I spoke with the Neonatologists and they told me that they had decided to transport the girls down to Children's Hospital. This wasn't being done for any emergency reasons, just because of their small size and that the NICU at MOBAP was fairly full at the time. They said that the Transport Team would come and bundle the girls and bring them by Jeni's room before they left.

When I got back to Jeni's room, the nurses were preparing to move her to a regular room and out of the Antepartum area of the OB floor. So we packed up all of Jeni's stuff and followed her down the hall. Mom arrived around then and we all settled in to Jeni's new room to visit. Rick soon arrived after that and we anxiously awaited the babies' visit before their trip to Children's.

At about 3:30 the Transport Team arrived. They came in dressed in uniforms fit for a NASCAR driver. They wheeled the babies in inside their isolettes and strapped in looking ready to blast off to space!

Olivia still on her breathing tube.

Sydney (The Diva) in the spotlight, ready for her limo ride to the fancy hospital.

The new grandparents, Jeni and I all said goodbye to the girls and they were off.

Even though it was really tough to see them being taken away, I knew they were headed somewhere where they would get the best care possible.


The Big Day, Vol 2: The Arrivals

Jeni was wheeled into the delivery/operating room and prepped for the c-section. After prepping her, they came and got me about 10 minutes later. As I arrived in the room, Jeni was on the table and her head was behind a sheet that rose above her starting at her chest. I stood next to her where an anestesiaologist was stationed. Luckily they provided me a stool to sit on. Turns out I wouldn't need it, but it was nice to have that option.

I was only in the room maybe 5 minutes it seemed before someone said, "Dad, get your camera ready!" Oh man...

I was holding Jeni's hand and trying to comfort her as she could feel the doctors jiggling and jerking around on her but we could not see what was going on (thank goodness). Then suddenly, someone said "Ok, here's the first one. Breech at 10:49. Breech at 10:49." I looked up and that's when I saw one of the people working on Jeni with a tiny baby in their hands quickly walk over to the table surrounded by about 4 other folks. Quickly they started working on her. This was Olivia Kay!
Olivia needed a little help breathing at the beginning and I couldn't get too many good shots of her as I wanted to stay out of the experts' way as they helped her.

Back to my stool next to Jeni, and immediately I heard "Ok, here's B. Vertex at 10:51. 10:51." Upon that I looked up an the second little girl was in someone's hands being taken to another table. Welcome to the world, Sydney Ann!

Olivia Kay weighed in at 2 lbs, 8.1 oz and Sydney Ann weighed in at 2 lbs, 7.7 oz.

Sydney was breathing on her own quite well and crying. Jeni and I were very excited to hear her first little cries. I spent lots of time with her and snapped some pictures as well as handing my camera to the nurse as I cut her cord.

After the girls were cleaned up, they were bundled and taken down to the Special Care Nursery to be monitored and for tests to be conducted on them.

I know some of these pictures look scary, but they are doing well. The bundling is to keep them warm and confortable and the tubes are to help them breathe better since they are early. Both girls were doing well right away and needed only a little assistance.

Following their arrival and transport down the hall, I headed out to see if any of the parents had arrived while we were in the delivery room. Jeni was taken back to her room to recover.

The Big Day

I awoke on Thursday July 10 to a phone call from Jeni. She was very upset and in pain. Overnight, she hadn't slept much due to worries about what would happen next as well as increasing contractions. Starting at around 5 AM the contractions had not only increased in frequency, but they had gotten a lot stronger and more painful.

I quickly hopped in the car and headed to the hospital. When I got into the room, Jeni was very concerned. She was worried that we had made the wrong decision in not transferring to the other hospital. I reassured her that we did what we thought was right at the time and things had obviously changed quickly with what was happening with her stage of labor.

One of her doctor's partners arrived in Jeni's room and we discussed with him what had changed overnight. He checked her monitors and decided to do an ultrasound to see if the babies had changed in their positioning. Up until now Baby A had been breech and Baby B had been head-down. A quick ultrasound confirmed that this had not changed.

We told the doctor that we agreed that we would be open to moving to the other hospital if he thought that it was the right thing to do. He then informed us that he thought Jeni was not a candidate to move because she was too far along in her labor at this point and that he would like to do a c-section some time in the next couple of hours! HOLY CRAP!

SO, the babies are coming! An immediate flooding of emotion came over Jeni and I of fear and excitement at the same time. Obviously we were worried about how early it was for the babies since she is only 30 weeks along. At the same time we were excited to meet these 2 little people who would double the size of our family immediately!'

The doctor headed out to prep his team. Jeni and I sat together and talked and then I headed out into the hallway to make some phone calls. Obviously the news came to quite a surprise to all of our parents. They made adjustments in their schedules and told me when they'd be coming up to see us. I went back to Jeni's room and waited with her.

The nurse came in shortly afterward and presented me with my "uniform" for the c-section.

I felt like I was preparing for a spacewalk...

Jeni and I waited together and then her mom arrived. We sat and talked until the team came to get Jeni to take her in to administer her 'spinal' and prep her for the c-section. They would come and get me about 10 minutes later.
To be continued...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Um, I think we might have an issue."

Tuesday, July 8 was a good visit at Jeni's doctor. All of the exam seemed to show that things were improving with her and labor was not coming anytime soon. The ultrasound showed the babies were progressing right on track and were still laying head to toe. Her physical examination showed that she had actually improved from last weeks exam. Her doctor even said talked about not removing her cerclage 'til week 34 and discussed what sorts of changes to her physical activity could be added such as walks, etc. He suggested doing some light swimming if possible to keep her active over the next few weeks. Needless to say, what came less than 24 hours would make all this talk seem silly.

I got up on July 9 and finished getting ready to head out to work. As I kissed Jeni goodbye, she turned over and repositioned herself in bed. As I turned to head out of the house, she said to me, "Um, wait. Don't leave yet. I think we might have an issue." Of course that's not anything you want to hear when your wife is pregnant and with the roller coaster ride we've had so far in the pregnancy.

Jeni continued talking to me from the bathroom and told me that she thought her water had broken. She immediately asked for the phone and called her doctor as I frantically started taking her bags toward the garage. After speaking to her doctor, we jumped in the car and headed to the hospital. Unfortunately, the trip was not the usual 15 minute drive because we were in the middle of rush hour.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Jeni was admitted into one of the Antepartum rooms and her doctor arrived shortly afterward. He did a physical exam and confirmed that one of the babies' membranes had ruptured. He discussed what would happen next and as since Jeni wasn't contracting that she would be monitored and given antibiotics to prevent any infections. Over the next few hours, we got visits from her doctor, one of his partners, and the neonatologist on-staff at the hospital to discuss our options. They discussed moving Jeni down to Barnes hospital closer to Children's hospital that could better care for the twins when they arrived. However, due to our experience at Barnes the previous weekend, we were resistant at first especially since she showed no signs of active labor.

Over the next few hours, things were fairly quiet. Jeni had no pain and only a few smaller contractions. The doctors decided to stop the tocolytics (anti-contraction meds) because they were afraid that any infection would trigger contractions and did not want to mask those with the drugs. After further discussion about what would be best for the babies, Jeni and I agreed that if things changed over night that we would have her transfered to the other hospital. I left to go home on Wednesday feeling confident that things were quiet and that we might have several days or even weeks of Jeni being on bedrest at the hospital before anything changed. I guess that was wishful thinking...


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Long Restful Weekend... almost.

Jeni and I were both very happy for the long holiday weekend to arrive.

Because of Jeni's Thursday doctor's appointment, I took the day off even though my office was scheduled to close early for the July 4th weekend. We got up early on Thursday and loaded Sugar into the car and dropped her off at the vet's for her tumor removal. Things went smoothly there even though I know Sugar wasn't happy to be left there alone.

Jeni and I met my mom at the doctor's office and waited for our turn in the ultrasound room. The ultrasound was pretty uneventful. It took a while longer than usual because there was a student doing some of the procedure along with the technician. They spent a long time watching for the babies to do some "practice breathing" on the monitor. Baby B complied, but Baby A was being stubborn. Jeni says Baby A is just like me. I have no idea what she's referring to.

Following the ultrasound, we went back out to the waiting room where my poor mother was waiting patiently. Unfortunately, she had a while longer to wait as Jeni and I went back to see the doctor. Again nothing new really. He was a bit concerned that while it hadn't changed much, her cervix had shortened slightly. Her schedule of meds are approaching its maximum and he is committed to "keeping her pregnant" as long as possible. So, on this visit, he decided it was time to administer a pessery.

If you, like me, don't know what a pessery is, I'll explain it. Let's see... Imagine an inflatable baseball-sized balloon that is shaped a bit like a dreidel when it's deflated... Well, the pessery is designed to provide the cervix with additional support as the pressure builds from the growing babies. I'll let you use your imagination on how it's "administered". Jeni can share her thoughts on it in another post...

So after that wonderful experience, we left the doctor's office with unfortunately not enough time for all of us to go to lunch. We had originally planned to grab a bite to eat before I hit the road to Columbia. But since it was after 1:00 when we were finished at the doctor, I decided to skip lunch. Unfortunately, my plans to get to Columbia early quickly evaporated when I encountered a highway shutdown on 40 just before the Boone Bridge. I had to backtrack all the way to 270 and up to I-70 which added nearly an hour onto my drive...

The rest of the day went as planned as I picked up Cassius from Mizzou and got him checked out of the clinic for the last time. We stopped by the vet in Creve Coeur and picked up Sugar and the 3 of us made our way home. Since it was so late already, I stopped by Culvers for some quick dinner for Jeni and I. Needless to say, after dinner I was exhausted and ready for bed... I believe I fell asleep on the couch.

We celebrated the 4th of July with Keith and Amy by grilling and having some drinks on the patio. It was unseasonably cool for the 4th and quite comfortable... no heat or humidity which was nice! Keith and I even got in a game of washers without breaking a sweat. Well, nearly.

Saturday was a lazy day around the house. Jeni relaxed on the sofa and I decided it was time to clean up my filthy car. From multiple trips back and forth to the vets and Mizzou, my backseat was covered in dog hair and slobber. Since I'll be taking my car to the firehouse soon to get some carseat bases installed, I need to do LOTS of cleaning. After I was finished, I was amazed at how clean the car looked!

Unfortunately, my relaxing evening on Saturday was not to be. As I put some water on to boil to make some corn on the cob, Jeni made a call to her doctor about some developments with the pessery that concerned her. The doctor who returned her call was not her regular doctor (booo!) and he directed us to come to Barnes Hospital (oh crap!).

Our trip to Barnes that night lasted nearly 3 hours and ended with us coming back home with really no resolution and a "talk to your doctor on Tuesday" instruction... Needless to say, I wasn't happy, but was relieved that Jeni could come home and nothing serious was happening.

So, that brings us to today, Sunday. Finally a nice relaxing day at home for us. The boxers slept most of the day. Jeni did some reading and web browsing (as usual). I was fairly productive as I did about 5 loads of laundry and mowed the front lawn...

If only all of our weekend days could be this slow...
I'm a realist though and understand that these quiet weekends of sleeping in and doing nothing are numbered...

I wonder if this is one of my last.