4lbs 14.8oz, 19in
Sunday, November 21st, I was 35 weeks, 6 days. I was laying in my bed, nursing Arianna after her nap like I always do. All of a sudden, I felt a big poke and then a pop. I threw Arianna off me at Dan and ran to the bathroom, where I made it over the toilet just in time for a giant gush - my water broke! We freaked out, and raced around like crazy people, packing bags, and getting random things ready. I called my midwife, and she said I didn't need to come in yet, especially since I wasn't having any contractions, but to definitely come in by Monday morning no matter what. Marissa's class was scheduled to sing in front of church that evening, so we all went to church! I was feeling completely fine, but after she sang, and we sat there a little longer, I started to feel lightheaded and nauseous a little. We decided we should get to the hospital, so we drove back home to get the girls' things, came back to church, and said goodbye to the girls. They spent the next 24 hours with a wonderful family with a 4 year old boy Cole, and a toddler Haley.
Dan and I got to L&D Triage at 8:15, and I still wasn't having any contractions. Shortly after we got there, I started throwing up quite a bit. Then around 9:30 I started having contractions. Every time I threw up, I gushed more amniotic fluid. At 9:30, the triage nurse said we could walk around the halls to see if things picked up and to come back at 10:30 to get checked.
[Background info: I was hoping to give birth in the birth center at the hospital. But they only do term births, which means I had to be 37 weeks. I was really hoping for another water birth like Arianna's, so when we got there, we talked with the midwife about the dates. Originally, my due date was Dec. 13th, but after a few early ultrasounds, they moved it to Dec. 20th. So the midwife said she could use the original dates to get me into the birth center at midnight on Sunday, which would make me 37 weeks. So I was trying to make it to midnight!]
So Dan and I walked the halls, but only for about 15 minutes. The contractions were quickly getting worse, and I still had to throw up. So we went back to triage, and the midwife (Cat) was there. I asked her how serious she was about the midnight deal - and she said they'd start filling up the tub! Around this time, my hands started to go numb and constrict really oddly. I had a hard time holding the puke bucket. So they pushed me to the birth center, where I had to wait for the tub to fill up since it's so huge. I think we got there around 10:45. I might have gotten in the tub around 11. My hands were getting worse, and then my legs started to do the same thing. Then for just a quick minute, I felt like my language was slurring. The midwife and nurses and Dan were all trying to massage my hands/legs, and the midwife told me to breathe into the bucket I was holding. I guess I was breathing too fast. It was really annoying to have the throwing up PLUS the weird numbness/constricting/pain, all in addition to horrible contractions! Anyways, shortly after I got in the tub, I started to want to push. I pushed once, heard them say his head was out, and as I continued the push, he popped right out! My hands were still messed up, so I could barely hold him. The cord was pretty short, and the nurse was helping me hold him. So Dan cut the cord pretty quickly. He was all slimy and super tiny, but fine. They took him to the warmer so I could get out of the tub and lay on the bed. Then I got to hold him for a while, and let him try to latch on. He did, but only for a second here and there. I was glad it was so quick, since I was still having the other weird problems! At some point, they put him back on the warmer, and checked him out. They weighed him and I was surprised by how little he was.
After a little while, he started grunting with each breath, and breathing fast, which meant he was having a hard time breathing. They called some NICU nurses and they all agreed he should go to the NICU. With their assessment, they decided he actually was only 36 weeks, so we were kind of "illegal" in the birth center! They took him to the NICU around 3am, and I was left to use the hospital pump every 3-4 hours
I felt great, but didn't have much appetite and was still feeling a little nauseous sometimes. I took one Ibuprofen around 4am after he was born, and that's all I had.
Monday night/Tuesday morning at around 11:30pm I woke up kinda panicky and having a nightmare. I walked around the lounge for a bit before I was able to get back to sleep. Then at 12:30am, the NICU doctor woke us up and told us Roman had developed a pneumothorax and kinda turned worse "about an hour ago". His breathing was extremely fast (140 breaths/minute instead of around 60), and he was whining/grunting with every breath. It was so upsetting to watch. They also had done an x-ray on his lungs and thought he probably had pneumonia and that's also where they saw the pneumothorax. It was a bubble of nitrogen in his chest cavity. So they put him in an "oxyhood" with 100% oxygen, which gives the body more use for the nitrogen bubble and it slowly dissipates. If it didn't work, they'd have to insert a tube in his chest and manually get rid of the bubble. Either way, it wasn't a HUGE bad thing, just quite jarring in the middle of the night. We immediately went down to see him and that was hard.
The oxygen worked though, and after a few more x-rays, they determined the pneumothorax was gone. They did have to start him on a 7-day antibiotic for the pneumonia, so that became his minimum time for being in there.
I was discharged Tuesday night, but they have "parenting rooms" to just sleep in for NICU parents. It's only a twin though, so Dan couldn't stay with me. I made sure to pump every 3-4 hours, and my milk supply increased very quickly!
Wednesday morning, his breathing slowed completely down, and stayed consistently in the 60-70 breaths/minute range. That was the requirement for beginning to feed him, starting with bottles of my expressed milk. He did ok with the bottles, and the second day they allowed him to eat as much as he seemed to want, and each feeding he went up a little bit. At his max, he was taking 1oz. In the afternoon on Friday, we were getting ready to feed him, and the doctor came to do his circumcision. I did NOT expect to be there for it, but we ended up staying. Dan didn't watch, but I was able to see most of it, and I'm sure my face was hilarious. It was a bit disturbing, but he barely cried while they were doing it. Our favorite nurse, Lindsey, was calming him down with a paci, and he was a trooper. After that, he wasn't really into eating much for a few feedings, and he had some crying spells (Lindsey said he probably had just peed for the first time - ouch!), but he really did so well.
Saturday, the doctor said we could start to "direct breastfeed" him, so we tried it for the first time at his 2:00pm feeding. He latched on great (which is what I was worried about), and sucked heartily for about 5 minutes, and then started to get worn out. I managed to keep him on for 10 minutes, which I thought was great. They wanted him to be on for 15 minutes, but for the first try I was very pleased. He continued to do great with breastfeeding, and didn't develop any more of his respiratory issues.
We brought his car seat in for his car seat study, to make sure he could get enough oxygen and breathe properly when he's in it. He passed his hearing test, they took his IV out, and he finally came home with us on Monday, November 29th, after a week in the NICU!
The girls had a really hard week while he was in the NICU, mainly because I spent most of my time at the hospital, and when I was able to come home for meals, I had to rush back to pump (we didn't think it was necessary to buy/rent a pump since he was only going to be in there a week) or breastfeed. Marissa seemed to be dealing with it better than Arianna, but Arianna was (and still is) a mess. Every time I came home, she wouldn't leave my side, and flipped out every time I had to leave again. They haven't had chicken pox, so they weren't allowed in the NICU, so they couldn't even see him (other than pictures) until he was discharged the following Monday. Every day, Marissa asked if she could see him yet! In the week we've all been home, Arianna has still been NOT herself. She was a handful BEFORE all of this happened. But she's just a huge mess these days. She won't leave my side, not even for a second. She is also nursing A LOT. I had planned to continue breastfeeding her until Roman came (mainly to avoid all the pain issues I had with beginning breastfeeding with both girls), and she was very addicted to breastfeeding still, so that was easy. But with me being gone so much, she's taken it to a new level. She asks to nurse a lot, not just nap/bedtime like before. But she also gets soooooo excited when she gets to nurse. She claps her hands, grins, and says "please, please" over and over. The hardest part is when I need to nurse Roman, and she freaks out! I've had to nurse them at the same time a few times, and it's not easy! I definitely do NOT want to wean her right now since she clearly needs the extra support from me. But I really hope this dies down relatively soon! Sometimes when I walk toward his pack-n-play if he starts crying, she'll throw herself in front of me, begging "UP! UP!" just so I don't go near him. It's so pitiful and sad, but so frustrating. Mealtimes are a million times worse (never thought that'd be possible!) with her too. I'm hoping that since I'm stuck home for a while now, she'll start to calm down. Marissa's obviously much better than this, but she's also suddenly super sensitive, and breaks down into hysterical tears for the slightest reason. She's also asking to cuddle a lot more. It's definitely a big adjustment in general to have another baby, but that week of me being gone has made things much harder than I expected.
I feel completely healed and normal, and have felt great since the Tuesday after he was born. It's wonderful to feel great, since it would have been so much harder to be by myself at the hospital if I was in a lot of pain. I'm also enjoying the "newborn-ness" of Roman in a whole new way. With Marissa, I was a mess, and on super drugs for 2 weeks straight afterward. And with both girls, I dreaded every little noise they made for 2 whole months because it hurt so much to breastfeed them. But this time around, either due to nursing Arianna still, or all the pumping I did in the hospital, breastfeeding is just a joy, and I'm loving (almost) every minute of it (last night was a little rough - he was up a lot!). My milk came in HUGELY the Monday afternoon we brought Roman home, and I was sorely missing the hospital pump. But my body finally adjusted to as much as he wanted (which was obviously MUCH less than I had been pumping), and now we have TONS of milk stored in the freezer. Marissa had been asking (while I was still pregnant) to be able to feed "Baby Roman" so I think we'll probably let her every once in a while. I've never had a supply of milk in the freezer before, so maybe I'll actually get to go out and do things by myself - as long as he'll still take a bottle!
Dan's parents and my sister came as soon as they could after Roman was born. It was Thanksgiving week, so they had the extra time off, and were all a HUGE help: with meals (the hospital wasn't feeding me anymore since I was just in a "parenting room") and with the girls, since Dan obviously wanted to spend as much time with me and Roman as he could. We had a yummy Thanksgiving meal prepared by Dan's mom and my sister, and I was so glad the girls had familiar faces to spend time with. They all left that first weekend, and then my parents came Sunday night before Roman was discharged Monday. My parents were also a HUGE help with meals and with the girls. It was wonderful to have all the visitors and help, but I think the girls are ready to find a new normal - it was a little chaotic for these last two weeks! We are so blessed by loving family and friends - this coming week our church small group will be providing meals for us! I'm starting to wonder how I'll ever get ANYTHING done around here, especially with the way Arianna is reacting to everything, so all this help is wonderful.
Early on Black Friday morning, Dan and some of his friends went out shopping, and I told Dan to look out for a great couch deal (since our couch ripped our carpet and we tossed it to the curb a month ago). So Friday afternoon, in between pumping, Dan took me to see the couch he fell in love with at Ashley Furniture! We ended up ordering it that afternoon, and it should be arriving in a few weeks! It's dark gray, soft corduroy, and a huge chunky sectional with a super cozy chaise on the right side of it. We have a long living room, so I'm excited to see how it looks! I have to say, though, that was the hardest decision I've made in a long time! My brain wasn't very clear to begin with, because of all the crazy stuff going on back home and at the hospital. But the real problem was making a decision RIGHT THEN! The couch was regularly $1800, and was on sale for $800 just for that day! Talk about pressure. So we sat on the couch, and I stared at it for AGES, and just finally decided to go for it! If you know me at all, you also know I keep receipts and clothes and tags together for a long time after I buy things, because I'm always so indecisive that I end up returning things and buying something different all the time. That's not really something you can do with a couch, so that made it even harder! But I'm happy with our purchase, and can't wait to sit on it in our living room!
I think that covers just about everything. It's been a whirlwind the last 2 weeks, especially since we weren't expecting any of this until LATE December - I was a week late with Arianna, so we really thought it would be Christmas or later that Roman made his appearance! He was a little earlier than we would have liked, but recovered quickly and now I'm loving having him home with us already. I still have a hard time believing he made his appearance so suddenly and forcefully, and that all of this really happened! I also can't believe we have 3 kids!