Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week 29

Father's Day....Last week was a week of firsts; but this week was the first holiday we spent as a family and the first Father's Day for Jeff. I wanted to do something special for Jeff from the boys and decided to give him a diaper full of his favorite candies from each baby. After a long day of golf, the night was complete when we went to visit the boys and were both able to hold a baby. I kangarood with Brock while Jeff and Keaton had father son time. There is no better sight then to see the man I love hold and nurture my sons.

Having my mom here for the delivery of the babies, the beginning of my recovery, and the first couple of weeks of the boys lives made things better. When the pain was intolerable, when I received news about the boys that I was not wanting to hear, when I needed to break down and cry; mom was there. Father's Day was bitter sweet when I had to say goodbye to my mom; my rock. Just as my mom has a way to comfort and make things better; I must now do the same. I am now a mom; I have to be there for my boys just as my mom is there for me. I am blessed to have a mom who raised me with love and intend on doing the same with my four.

Every week is a new week; every day is a new day. The week started out fairly well....until. The weekend staff decided to repeat Brock's echo and found that he too had an open duct. They stopped his feedings and began the rounds of indocin. Grayson was holding stable and we were anticipating Monday to see what his echo results were. After listening to him, the doctors said that the duct was closed. Like every day, I started my week by my new routine: eat breakfast, pump, straighten the house, get dressed, go to the hospital, pump, and see the boys. I spend the morning and into the afternoon with the boys: holding them, being a picture fanatic, listening to the doctors, and thanking God for my little angels. As I spent the day, no new news was reported to me. When Jeff and I returned after shift change we had to idea what was coming our way. The doctor said that Grayson' s duct was open and continuing to be problematic with his lungs and breathing and overall health. He informed us that he spoke to the surgeon and my little boy would have surgery Tuesday at 2. All I could do was sit ad cry. I was frustrated that I had spent the day with the boys and I was told that everyone was doing well for where they were at. I was frustrated that we were told it was closed when it was open. Most of all I was scared. However; when it comes down to it, I want Grayson to be healthy and breathing on his own. I want to see his face without a ventilator. I want to hold my son that I have barely touched.

The night was long as I anticipated the surgery. What little sleep Jeff and I were able to get, was interrupted with a phone call at four in the morning. When the phone rang, my heart dropped. We were told that the doctors had to preform CPR o Grayson because his tube got dislodged. This was anything but the way I wanted the day to begin. After getting ready we headed to the hospital where we watched the nurses prepare Grayson all morning long to go to surgery. Two came and went and when the surgeon finally showed up she said it was too late to do the surgery and that it would have to be done the following day. Once again, not the words I wanted to hear. We couldn't help but to reach our frustration point. This is our little boy who is only getting sicker and more dependent being on the ventilator; not to mention the emotions and anticipation i had all day. Regardless; there was nothing I could do but pray and wait.

The night drug on like the previous, and in the morning I could not get to the hospital fast enough. I sat there and allowed time to pass by holding the other boys. The two o clock surgery turned into a three o clock surgery but nevertheless; the time came. Words can not describe the helpless feeling I had as they wheeled little Grayson away to the operating room. Two and a half hours seemed like an eternity. I was relieved to hear that the surgery went well overall and I had my little boy back in his safe haven. We were warned that he would get sicker before getting better; and he did. He ended up on the oscillating ventilator and it took the entire night for him to become comfortable and stable. I am grateful the surgery did the trick; and am ready for the day where Grayson is off the ventilator and I can hold my son.

Mamma and Keaton

Keaton watching mamma

Camden getting comfy after kangaroo care
If I have learned one thing this week it is a mother's love. My boys mean the world to me and I would do anything to make things better for them; but I can not. Even though I have no control over them; He does. When I think I have reached my bottom; He pulls me up.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week 28

It is hard to think that my boys are one week old! Just a week ago we were anticipating the arrival of the blessings; and now they are here!

We were told from the beginning how the NICU was going to take us for a roller coaster; we did not get just what this meant until our journey began. I no longer live day by day or hour by hour; but rather second to second. it never dawned on me just how fast things can change; and this not just for a baby but for four babies. As hard as the pregnancy was and as relieved I was to have my four boys; having them be in the hospital and not being able to make things better for them kills me. I find myself getting frustrated over things I am not able to control. I did not expect the recovery from the pregnancy and the surgery to be as difficult and time consuming as it is. I yearn to hold my boys and to have all of my focus on them rather than having my ribs ache; my stomach throb and my back break. I want to drive to come and go as I please and not have to rely on others. I do not want to be a patient of my husbands; I want to be his wife. Just as I find myself falling into this frustration I quickly realize that this is not about me. There are four precious boys who are counting on me to be their strength and to be their nurturer. I is no more; it is they. I do not find strength in myself; I find it in Him. When I thought the trials of pregnancy had done me in; He pulled me through and I know he will be my coach and strength in this fight too.

My favorite time of day is when I walk in the NICU every morning to be greeted by my bundles. They never cease to fail me with their unbelievable cuteness. Call me bias; but they are just too cute!!! Seeing Brock snuggled on his tummy, Camden's face buried in the bed with his but in the air, Keaton sprawled out with his knees bowed and his arms outstretched and Grayson lying peacefully still asleep while being breathed for by the ventilator makes for a great start of the day!!! It's times like these that bring light to even the darker times. This week was also the week of firsts. I was able to kangaroo care with Camden, Keaton and Brock. I was saddened by the fact that I was not able to do so with Grayson and even more upset that I have not gotten to see his face as he is on the ventilator and also under the lights in which he wears a mask that covers his eyes. Today, the last day of week 28...I was able to not only see his eyes but I was also able to pick him up. His bed was being changed so I lifted him through the isolette arm doors while his nurse exchanged his bedding. Jeff had his first pee diaper change at the beginning of the week with Keaton and I had my first poo diaper at the end of the week with Keaton. I am sure in due time I will have changed all of their diapers more than I ever would have wanted!!!!! Keaton was the man of the week with firsts as I also saw him smile for the first time!!!! All of this makes my world go round!

It is times like the ones above that get me through the times like these. Grayson is still on the ventilator and will be until his ductus is closed and his lungs are cleared of fluid. He as well as the other boys had an echo on Thursday that would decide if the indocin was enough to close it or if surgery the following day was necessary. We were almost guaranteed surgery would be needed; but so far it is NOT! His ductus is almost closed so they are giving him another dose of the indocin and them reevaluating on Monday. I was shocked to find out that two of the other boys (Keaton and Camden) also had an open ductus that needs to be addressed. They were started on indocin on Thursday and I have not heard any updates as to how long or when reevaluation would take place. They also found a hole in Camden's heart that we were told was small and the doctors feel confident that it would close on its own. Our smallest little guy Brock; is so far so issues! It is hard to put the entire week for the quads in one paragraph as the day to day, minute to minute changes are never ending. Well; to show just how fast things change...they redid Brock's echo ad now has discovers that his ductus is also open and he is now on his first round of indocin to close it. Another day in the life of the NICU.

A close on another week means an opening to another...a fresh start. I don''t know what we will face this week; but I do know no matter what comes our way we are not alone and the Evans' family is blessed!

My first time holding Keaton

Dad's first diaper change

Dad's first time holding Keaton

My twin!


My first diaper change and a poo one at that

Mamma and Brock

My first time holding (well, lifting) Grayson

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Week 27

Another week down; another week to celebrate!! Being aware of my internal need for a bit of control; it has been hard to except the fact that I would not know when to expect the boys' arrival. I am pretty sure that I ask quite frequently about when I will have the boys; always to get the answer, "We do not have a crystal ball but you will know when your body goes into labor." I was still uncertain with this answer as I have had intense contractions for over four weeks now. I knew exactly what their response meant Sunday night. Sunday evening my contractions went from my baseline of 6-10 a minute to one every couple of minutes and these were the strongest I have ever felt; there was no question that things were changing. I was taken to get an ultrasound and to get my cervix checked. The babies were all doing good but my cervix was thinning and shortening. They decided to up the Magnesium to 4 grams an hour; as high as they would administer it. It was within moments of the Magnesium being turned up I felt the cruddy effects; but with the adverse effects I also felt my contraction slowing down. Everything was under control until early the following morning when my contractions began to pick up and the pains were getting to be unbearable. I was already given all of the medications to stop labor; their next plan was to remove the cerclage in hopes that tension would be released and the contractions would slow. They prepared us for the procedure and to possibly do the c section and deliver depending on how my uterus responded. After the cerclage was removed they monitored my contractions for ten minutes and in deed they slowed down. We were wheeled back to the room where we anticipated what would happen next.

The morning turned into the afternoon and the afternoon proved to be that of full excitement! The contractions picked right back up; however, this time they were the most painful, intense, and consistent ones yet. Ans many times as I have said that my body was done for; I knew this time was actually it. The pain was excruciating and when checked I was 2 cm dilated, 75% effaced; my uterus had dropped along with Baby A, and the contractions were one in every minute. The team of doctors filled our room to discuss what little options we had. I could have gotten an epidural to take the pain away but the contractions were obviously labor ones so the time in which we would ultimately deliver would be very soon. We also had to take in consideration the risks associated with an epidural. I have been on shots four times a day to thin my blood for the blood clots and also the magnesium and endocin I was taking to delay labor also thins out blood which could lead to my spine bleeding and other dangers I was not willing to risk. It was also the afternoon where all of the specialty doctors for both the kids and myself were still on shift. We all decided that labor was not stopping and the safest thing to do was to deliver. Luckily my mom had decided earlier that day to get a flight to San Antonio. She arrived 30 minutes prior to me going to the OR. After signing my life away, hugging and getting reassured by my mom, we were off to deliver the boys.

We went to the OR around 4:30 and the boys were born shortly after. Brock was born at 5:08 weighing 2 lbs 1 oz and was 14 inches long. Grayson was born at 5:09 weighing 2 lbs 8 oz (his length is still not known as he was having complications). Keaton was born at 5:09 weighing 2 lbs 6 oz and was 14.1 inches long. Camden was born at 5:10 weighing 2 lbs 3 oz and was 13.78 inches long. I sought to hear the cries of all of the babies, but was only able to hear the small whimpers of two. I kept my eyes on Jeff as he towered above me to take pictures of each of our little blessings. As quick as the babies were taken out, they were taken away. I helplessly laid there as the surgery was finishing. While I was taken to recovery I knew that Jeff would check on the boys allowing for an update when I was brought back to the room. All I wanted to know was that all of my boys were doing well; it seemed that I was in recovery for an eternity! Finally I was back to my home on the labor and delivery floor and was able to hear about my babies. They were all on ventilators but were all holding stable. I let out a sigh of relief. Unable to go to the NICU due to the surgery; I saw my boys on the camera thanks to the pictures that Jeff took.

The next morning my motivation to get out of the bed was 4 little boys. I was in such pain from the surgery and other complications that made left me feeling wiped out. It wasn't until the late morning when I saw my blessings for the first time. Even with all of the cords and tubes, they were just perfect! As much as I wanted to stay the entire day; my body only allowed me to stay a few minutes. By the end of the day we were getting wonderful news about Keaton, Brock and Camden. They were being taken off of the ventilator and would just wear oxygen canulas. Grayson was left on his because his blood pressure was unstable but was getting medications for to stable it out. The next day they attempted to take out Grayson's ventilator but his lungs collapsed causing a oscillating ventilator to go back in. All of the boys were put under bili lights and two on antibiotics for possible infections. A brain scan was done on Grayson to see if the uncontrolled blood pressures effected his brain. The results showed that he had a stage one brain bleed. The words were just unsettling. The doctor explained in great detail that a stage one is basically viewed as a 0 as it has no negative effects. The next couple of days were the same sort of updates. Thursday was finally the day that I had been anticipating; the going home day!! 10 weeks on bed rest, about seven of those spent in the hospital...this girl was ready to go home!!

Being at home was just not fulfilling; as happy as I was to be at home, I wanted my boys with me. Sleep is overrated when you are in pain and can not get comfortable. A c section i am sure is bad enough; but I my abdominal muscles split during pregnancy and had to be sewed back together causing intense pain. Another UTI just added to the fun of trying to heal!! I was not too concerned about getting sleep as I just wanted to get back to see the boys. I felt guilty that I was only able to stay long enough to hear their progress and to see each of their faces. I also know that healing happens more and more each day and that things will get better to where I can spend as much time as I please with them.

We were told this experience was going to be a roller coaster of a ride; but I didn't fully understand until now. It is a good thing that we are not alone; God is with the Evans' and continues to bless us daily!!! How grateful we are!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Week 26

Beeping, nurses coming in every our for either magnesium checks or medicines, confined to the same bed and room....OLD!!!!! It is getting old. If I wasn't in a tshirt and shorts I would think I was a convict. I now understand what pregnant ladies at the approaching full term mean when they say that they are done and ready for the baby to be out. The only difference is that I am 26 weeks and not 40. As done as I feel, as fed up with feeling lousy from the meds, as over I am of getting constant infections...I can not be done. I have to find strength outside of myself to persevere and overcome these coming weeks; knowing it is what is best for my boys. It is the single hardest thing I have had to endure; but know that it will be completely worth it and forgotten.

Just as I finished the antibiotics for the UTI and other infections; I felt another coming on. Not again!!!! With infections come pain and discomfort as well as an increase in contractions; which is anything but fun. The symptoms this time were heightened; fever, aches, along with the feelings of a typical UTI. It will take 48 hrs to get the culture back; however, IV antibiotics along with oral ones should start to kick the infection...I am hoping!!! 28 weeks is the next goal and is when the Magnesium will be shut off; for a drug most are on for a period of only 48 hours; I will be starting the 4th week this coming week. I am ready for the day when it is done!

Having the type of personality that likes to know what is going on and what to expect; this situation is just not conducive. As most women have a due date to anticipate and plan for; I do not. There is no date or time as to when the babies will come which leaves me to depend on God that much more. I have learned so much throughout this experience which I am thankful for. Where I use to try and control every and all situation; depending on what was penciled in my planner; I have learned to allow God to be my planner. He lets me know on his time; what will come our way.

The babies had a growth scan this week. Two babies were 2lbs 4 oz, one baby was 2lbs  3 oz and the other was 1 lb 14 oz. All were right above or average; making this mamma happy!!! And to top the good news was Jeffrey making our anniversary special; even being in the hospital! Roses; a little cake with flowers on top, a sweet card and a nice take out dinner made the day a memorable one!!

Seeing my belly grow means that my baby boys are growing too; I still stare in awe at how the human body can be pushed beyond the conceivable limits! Just when I think I can not do one more day; I am given the strength I need to pull longer is it about me; it is about my four blessings!